• costs of resistance;
  • Cuscuta europaea;
  • host plant–parasitic plant interaction;
  • resistance;
  • tolerance;
  • Urtica dioica

If parasites decrease the fitness of their hosts one could expect selection for host traits (e.g. resistance and tolerance) that decrease the negative effects of parasitic infection. To study selection caused by parasitism, we used a novel study system: we grew host plants (Urtica dioica) that originated from previously parasitized and unparasitized natural populations (four of each) with or without a holoparasitic plant (Cuscuta europaea). Infectivity of the parasite (i.e. qualitative resistance of the host) did not differ between the two host types. Parasites grown with hosts from parasitized populations had lower performance than parasites grown with hosts from unparasitized populations, indicating host resistance in terms of parasite’s performance (i.e. quantitative resistance). However, our results suggest that the tolerance of parasitic infection was lower in hosts from parasitized populations compared with hosts from unparasitized populations as indicated by the lower above-ground vegetative biomass of the infected host plants from previously parasitized populations.