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This fleshy flower body belongs to a subteranean parasitic plant in the family of Hydnoraceae. For most of its life it is un seen as it dwells beneath the surface as a parasite of the Euphorbiaceae family of plants. These parasites are achlorophyllous meaning they have no chlorophil and do not use photosynthesis. They get all their nutrients from the host plant directly by releasing an enzyme that slightly dissolves some of the host plants roots wich then allows this paraite to attach itself. Insects like carrion beetles as shown in the last picture, burrow into the closed flowers,(seen as closed pods), through the sepals attracted by a strong smell produced from the soft spongy red areas called osmophores. After some time, the flowers open and release the tricked beetle covered in pollen to move on and pollonate other plants.It grows a fruit under ground over a two year period similar in taste and texture to a potato. The fruit can be up to 8cm in diameter and have twenty thousand seeds. Animals using the fruit as a food source include Jackals that are attracted by the smell of rotting meat and hence its common name.
Semi Arid and arid regions as seen here close to the Karoo desert in South Africa.
Rhizome extracts are used in dysentery treatment in South Africa. The fruit is used in tanning and preserving fish nets as it is an astringent, meaning it shrinks or constricts body tissue. Its other common name amoung the Afrikaans Karoo community is Jakkalskos pronounced yak-als-skoff.
Spotted on Jun 3, 2019
Submitted on Jun 3, 2019
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