Holoparasitic plants in Mediterranean ecosystems

Although photosynthesis is essential to sustain life on Earth, not all plants use sunlight to synthesize nutrients from carbon dioxide and water. Holoparasitic plants are dependent on other plants for nutrients and they can cause severe reductions in productivity, but can also exert positive effects on diversity in natural ecosystems. Mediterranean-type climate ecosystems are characterized by a great diversity in vegetation and occupy large natural vegetation areas in different regions of the world so Mediterranean ecosystems represent unique environments to study holoparasitic plant-host interactions.

The study of holoparasites and the interactions with their hosts is therefore essential not only to understand better the delicate balance of Mediterranean ecosystems, a major source of global biodiversity, but also in the search for alternatives to improve crop management and reduce the yield losses due to holoparasitic plants that currently occur in Mediterranean agroecosystems.

Figure 1 from Casadesús and Munné-Bosch 2021 Plant Physiology