Definition of haustorium in US English:



  • A slender projection from the root of a parasitic plant, such as a dodder, or from the hyphae of a parasitic fungus, enabling the parasite to penetrate the tissues of its host and absorb nutrients from it.

    • ‘The germinated seedling infects host roots by developing an haustorium that penetrates the host root and serves as a physiological bridge between the two organisms.’
    • ‘Mildew hyphae grow on the exterior of the plant and remove nutrients from their host via haustoria sent into epidermal cells.’
    • ‘Cuscuta contains at least 158 species that no longer possess leaves, but their stems twine around host plants producing numerous haustoria to obtain nutrients.’
    • ‘Parasitic plants can form haustoria within various host tissues, and this has led to convenient, yet unsatisfactory distinctions being made between a ‘shoot parasite’ and a ‘root parasite’.’
    • ‘Specialized parasitic structures called haustoria are formed within host cells, through which nutrients are drawn from the host.’


Late 19th century: modern Latin, from Latin haustor ‘thing that draws in’, from the verb haurire.