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Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Dodder Plant

We often see an interesting net of thread like structures on a plant. It is called as Amarbel in Hindi and dodder in English. In taxonomy its genus is Cuscuta which contains up to 170 species. It belongs to the family of Morning Glory or Convolvulaceae.
Cuscuta is found throughout the temperate and tropical regions of the world. It has great species diversity in subtropical and tropical regions of the world. It has many folk names like wizard net, devil’s hair, goldthread, hair weed, love wine, strangleweed, angel’s hair, and witch’s hair.

Fig. The Dodder plant on Bougainvillea

This plant has thin stem which appears leafless, although it has minute scales that may be termed as leaflets.
Cuscuta is a parasitic plant. It has a very low level of chlorophyll. Cuscuta reflexa can slightly photosynthesize where as some other species are total parasites. The plant produces haustoria that penetrate into the host plant and derive nutrition from it. This leads to weakening of the host which sometimes leads to the death of both the host and parasite.
Many countries have laws to check the import of grains containing seeds of this plant. Under the law … all clothes should be inspected for dodder seed when moving from an infested area to a non-infested crop. When dealing with an infested area, swift action is necessary.
Key Words:thread like, convolvulaceae, haustoria, parasite