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Plants That Steal

Posted on 26 September 2019

Plants may look innocent enough, but one type of plant – the dodder – actually has the ability to steal. 

The dodder is considered a parasitic plant, meaning instead of using photosynthesis to survive, it takes nutrients from other plants known as ‘host’ plants. But, scientists from Penn State University in the USA have discovered that the dodder plant is an even bigger thief; it’s able to steal genetic material from its host plants. This allows it to do a variety of things it otherwise wouldn’t have been capable of, like defending itself against other plants. 

The scientists behind the study think this is the reason the dodder plant has survived so long as a parasite.