University of Maryland Extension

Dodder

Dodder
Cuscuta pentagona

dodder

 

Life cycle: annual vine
Growth habit: parasitic vine germinating from seed; thread-like, yellow-orange stems twine over host plants; roots modified to penetrate, then draw nutrients and water from the host; leaves inconspicuous
Reproduction: seeds; seeds are long-lived in the soil and germinate early spring or summer; flowers small, whitish, in clusters
Conditions that favor growth: only survives on preferred hosts such as alfalfa, clover, other legumes, and bedding plants; frequently found along slow moving streams
Cultural control: not commonly found in landscape situations; difficult, if not impossible, to control; must remove the infected plants before dodder goes to seed

 

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