Lovevine, Strangleweed, Hellbind,
infection of Basil. Click Image
plant is a real sucker!
is a parasitic vine with smooth, wiry,
twining stems that attach to a host
plant with tiny suckers (haustoria)
which draw water, minerals and
carbohydrates out of the host plant to
feed itself. Large numbers of them
twine over shrubbery to form blankets
that look like masses of orange
spaghetti (which gives it its common
spaghetti"). Dodder is a member
of the Morning-Glory Family (Convolvulaceae)
in older references, and a member of
the Dodder Family (Cuscutaceae) in the
more recent publications and lacks
sufficient chlorophyll in its buds,
fruits and stems to manufacture food
for itself, thus its
sp. infecting carrots.
image to enlarge.
close-up of flowers.
image to enlarge.
seedlings have roots, its tangled
stems are usually orange, but may be
yellowish, whitish, or greenish or
even tinged with red or purple. The
leaves are scale-like and almost
invisible, whereas the numerous
clusters of little waxy cream colored
5-petaled flowers and subsequent
1/8" seedpods are more
noticeable. There are 2 to 4 3-sided
brownish seeds in each 2-celled
USDA classifies dozens of dodder
species as Noxious Weeds. American
dodder (C. americana) and
golden dodder (C. campestrisis)
are particularly damaging agricultural
weeds. Dodder is a major problem for
such crops as alfalfa, clover, and
flax. Other plants commonly
parasitized by dodder include many
daisy relatives (especially
chrysanthemums), Virginia creepers,
trumpetvines, English ivies, petunias,
camellias, citrus, beets, redbuds,
hollies, sumacs, buttonbushes,
cucumbers, raspberries, potatoes,
tomatoes, roses, coleus, impatiens,
and various legumes. Dodder can also
carry plant viruses, including Phytoplasma,
which is responsible for many of the
is usually regarded as an annual, but
tends to be a perennial in Florida.
Some species are salt tolerant and/or
Dodders grow most vigorously in full
Moisture requirements vary according
to host plant. Some species grow in
marshes, others in arid scrub-lands.
USDA Zones 4 - 11.
Dodder reproduces readily from seed. A
single plant may produce thousands of
seeds, which can remain viable in the
soil for many years.
it will grow on so many different
plants and its dormant seeds stay
viable a long time dodder is hard to
control and nearly impossible to
eradicate. Dodder seed can be spread
by irrigation water, in the manures of
livestock that have eaten infested
alfalfa, or along with the seed of
crops that were infested with dodder.
Pre-emergent herbicides such as DCPA (Dacthal),
applied to the soil in the spring
before seed germination will prevent
this pest. Follow label directions!
and destroying dodder infected plants
is recommended. Dodder must be
destroyed before it produces seeds otherwise
infestations will spread. Once
established, dodder appears in patches
in the field. Cutting infected host plants
prior to the dodder producing seed
helps to reduce the quantity of seed for
the following year. Planting an
infested field with an immune or
resistant crop such as cereals, corn,
soybeans, velvetbeans or cowpeas
helps to control this weed.
of a 2,4-D type herbicide or contact
herbicide sprayed on infected hosts
and dodder plants will effectively
kill established parasitic plants
(and the host plant).