Dodder - Love Vine - Bigseed Alfalfa - Pretty Dodder
Cuscuta indecora Choisy
Convolvulaceae (Morning Glory) Family

Spring Dodder attacking new plant growth

Dodder is also called Love Vine, Angel's Hair, Tangle-gut, Strangleweed and Witches' Shoelaces.

This member of the Morning Glory Family is a parasitic, smooth annual. Its preferred habitat is roadsides, edges of lakes, marshes, and streams. Particularly, it will attack any chlorophyllous plant. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

The plant has no leaves. Fruit is a capsule.

The flowers are panicle-like clusters. Each flower is bisexual in nature and symmetrical in form. The calyx is 5-parted; the corolla is bell-shaped, fringed in white or greenish-white. Flowers occur in the summer.

Plants of Dodder start growth from seed, at first forming small roots in the soil but quickly attaching themselves to a host plant. Sinking minute disks into the tissue of a host, the true roots of Dodder then shrivel and die, leaving it to obtain all its nutrients from the host. Any plant attacked by Dodder is doomed and will die unless the intruder is removed from the host plant.

Dodder in Autumn. Photo courtesy Mike Carter, Pensacola, FL

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