Cat's Nails and RUMBA studies at Ohio State Univeristy Mathematical Biosciences Institute!
Hyobanche* (Orobanchaceae), or Cats Nails as it is commonly known, is a small genus of parasitic plants native to southern Africa. These plants are root parasites, attaching themselves to the roots of other plants and drawing water, mineral nutrients, and carbon from their host plants. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that a plant can feed on another plant in this way, but there are many thousands of species in the plant kingdom that are parasitic on other plants. Parasitic plants can actually increase the diversity of plant species found in an ecosystem, and, thus, serve as an indicator for the health of an ecosystem.
South Africa is considered to be a biodiversity hotspot, especially for plants. Unfortunately, with the projected impacts of climate change, Southern Africa, along with its biota, will be amongst the first to feel the effects of global warming.