A Hydnora africana that has numerous contacts with a Euphorbia root. The nature of the underground axis (stem or root?) in Hydnora is not easy to determine with certainty, because there are no close relatives of Hydnora, and Hydnora is highly specialized for parasitism. However, there are reasons to favor the concept that the Hydnora axes are roots rather than stems. The growing tips show no evidence of reduced leaves at all, and there are no reduced leaves adjacent to the bases of the flowers. The five or six longitudinal rows of stubby roots on the axis remind one of patterns of lateral root formation on roots, whereas lateral roots that form on stems of plants don't tend to form neat longitudinal rows. And flowering plants other than Hydnora that are root parasites form roots (as in Orobanche), not underground stems, that interconnect with roots of host plants.
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