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Are parasitic plants our friends or foes?

29 May 2014

Find out at Manchester Museum

Join Dr Jenny Rowntree for Manchester Museum’s lunchtime talk for the From the War of Nature exhibition.

Jenny will give the talk, ‘Parasitic plants - friends or foes?’

About 1% of all flowering plants are parasitic on other plants. This means that they grow into and obtain all or some of their nutrients (or food) from other plants.

Some parasitic plants are well known, and have cultural significance such as mistletoe. Others are important agricultural pests that can reduce the productivity of crops.

Although parasitic plants always have a negative effect on the plants they infect, some species can have positive effects on the community as a whole. Yellow rattle, for example, a common species of meadows and grasslands in the UK, is used as a conservation tool to restore species rich grasslands as their presence tends to lead to an increase in associated plant species diversity over time.

Jenny will introduce you to some of these fascinating species and explore the positive and negative effects of parasitic plants.

  • The talk begins at 1pm on Friday 30 May at the Kanaris Theatre in the Museum.

The final lunchtime talk in the series is from 1-2pm on Friday 6 June, when Dr Andrew Dean delves under the surface of the pond to look at predation and conflict at a microscopic level.