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A parasitic plant that forms a rounded, starchy underground tuber that functions as an interface with roots of a host plant on which Ombrophytum feeds. It has no shoots or leaves but forms thin runners to find and infect new host roots. The bizarre, compact underground inflorescence produces small fruits that are probably distributed by ants. It is also edible, with a sweet, fruity taste, and considered a delicacy in South America. Ombrophytum subterraneum is native along the Andes from Ecuador to Chile and Argentina between 500 and 4000 m. Attempts to cultivation have been succesful using alfalfa or clover as a host, but Ombrophytum is not very specific and will accept many plants as a host. Seeds should be planted near active roots of the host plant as root hormones are required to make germination possible.