Issue Date: November 27, 2006
The work of parasitic plants
Regarding your article on Cuscuta pentagona, I regret that the only angle of interest in this work was on how to eradicate species of Cuscuta that prey on agricultural crops (C&EN, Oct. 2, page 15). Cuscuta salina is an important keystone species in Southern California, and there are other species of Cuscuta that form part of a healthy chaparral and watershed habitats.
Much like wolves and bears, when parasitic plants are in their native environment, they play an essential role in keeping any one species from forming a monoculture, and therefore help to increase and preserve biodiversity.
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