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    Pirate4911's Avatar
    Pirate4911 Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    Mar 26, 2011, 05:28 AM
    Why is a Rafflesia a plant?
    jcaron2's Avatar
    jcaron2 Posts: 986, Reputation: 204
    Senior Member

    Mar 26, 2011, 11:34 AM
    Actually, it's a very good question. Rafflesia certainly acts more like a fungus than a plant. It doesn't photosynthesize or have traditional roots, instead getting it's nutrients and energy as a parasite burrowing into certain vines.

    I'm sure there are many more reasons which could be explained by a botanist (which I am NOT), but I think one of reasons it's considered a plant is that it reproduces like other typical plants (i.e. with a pistil, stamen, pollen, etc.). It's DNA is a much more compelling case still. Examining its DNA (mitochondrial and nuclear) it is clear that it is a direct descendent from non-parasitic photosynthesizing plants of the order Malpighiales. Once rafflesia found its parasitic food source, apparently it's vestigial leaves, stems, and roots eventually simply evolved out of it.

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