"I was studying a civet latrine with
a lot of germinated seeds, trying to figure out what that civet had
"Then, next to the seedlings in the
latrine, there was this tiny plant, consisting only of flowers, no
leaves, no chlorophyll.
"Looked interesting; I figured out it
must be a parasite, took photographs and a few plantlets as samples.
- - 'afrothismia baerae' in flower and a
I sent the photos and some drawings to
Quentin Luke, an associate of the National Herbarium in Nairobi, and
he in turn contacted the Herbarium at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew
(UK), and there it was identified as belonging to the unusual family
The expert working on this group of plants
is Martin Cheek, and he supplied the following information."
- - Root
system of 'afrothismia baerae'.
To date four species of Afrothismia have
been reported in Africa, and two of these are in East Africa.
It is a strange plant with an integral
fungus in its root system, these two parts forming a unique symbiotic/
- - Woodland
In other words, whereas most plants draw
in soil nutrients through their root-hairs, in Afrothismia carbon and
nourishment is supplied by the fungi.
In scientific terms it is an 'aclorophyllous