"So, naturalists observe, a flea has smaller fleas that on him prey; and these have smaller still to bite ’em; and so proceed ad infinitum."
- Jonathan Swift

October 24, 2010

October 24 - Lathraea clandestina

Today we have a pretty parasite - Lathraea clandestina, or the Purple Toothwort, is a parasitic plant that uses willows, poplars and alders as its hosts. Its name comes from the fact that its remnant, below-ground and chlorophyll-less leaves resemble teeth. These plants produce quite large fruits for their size, which burst when ripe, sending their tiny seeds off to be carried by rain or other moisture to new hosts. L. clandestina is found throughout Western and Central Europe and seemingly were recently introduced into the U.K. and Ireland.


  1. can I purchase this in the US, esp Massachusettts?

  2. I don't believe that these plants have been brought into horticulture. Parasitic plants are pretty difficult - they often require specific hosts and conditions. And since it's a native to Europe, it would not be a good idea to plant this in the U.S.