Plant Image Collection


Main Information

Root holoparasite <em>Hydnora africana</em> in full bloom.
Jay F. Bolin Old Dominion University Biological Sciences 110 Mills Godwin Building Norfolk Virginia 23529 USA
The bizarre floral appearance of Hydnora africana seems almost extraterrestrial, but in fact it is finely adapted for pollination in its arid habitat. This plant, resident of southern Africa only emerges from the soil to flower. After the fleshy petals open, the flower begins to emit an odor of rotting meat to attract its pollinators, carrion flies and beetles. The unusual underground habit and lack of leaves may be explained by its mode of nutrition. Hydnora africana is a root holoparasite. Thus it has no need for sunlight to generate sugars, it has no chlorophyll and attains all nutrients and water from the roots of its shrubby host plant (in the background) Euphorbia mauritanica.
Additional data
Conant Award Quick view
Botanical Name
Plant Parasite: Hydnora africana; Host Plant: Euphorbia mauritanica
Common Name
kani (Nama), jakkalskos (Afrikaans)
Location Area
Richtersveld: Farm Gemsbokvlei
Location State
Northern Cape Province
Location Country
South Africa
  • Image
  • Not a cover image

Creation and update

Back to overview