TOOTHWORT, the popular name for a small British plant of curious form and growth, known botanically as Lathraea squamaria. It grows parasitically on roots, chiefly of hazel, in shady places such as hedge sides. It consists of a branched whitish underground stem closely covered with thick fleshy colourless leaves, which are bent over so as to hide the under surface; irregular cavities communicating with the exterior are formed in the thickness of the leaf. On the inner wall of these chambers are stalked hairs, which when stimulated by the touch of an insect send out delicate filaments by means of which the insect is killed and digested. The only portions that appear above ground are the short flower-bearing shoots, which bear a spike of two-lipped dull purple flowers. The scales which represent the leaves also secrete water, which escapes and softens the ground around the plant. Lathraea is closely allied to another British parasitic plant, broomrape (Orobanche).
- Please bookmark this page (add it to your favorites)
- If you wish to link to this page, you can do so by referring to the URL address below.
This page was last modified 29-SEP-18
Copyright © 2018 ITA all rights reserved.