Parasitic flowering plants exploit other flowering plants for water and nutrients by specialised structures called haustoria. Part of the haustorium, the intrusive organ, penetrates host tissue to establish contact with the conductive tissue of the host. Parasitic plants occur throughout the world in all types of plant communities except the aquatic. Generally, the parasite weakens the host so it produces fewer flowers and viable seeds or the value as timber is reduced. However, some parasites, mostly annual root parasites belonging to Orobanchaceae, may kill the host and cause considerable economic damage when attacking monocultures in agriculture, and much effort is done to control these harmful parasites.
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See also the book ' Parasitic flowering plants'