Dodder

The temperature reached 102. Our electricity went out at 4 p.m. After a fast-food supper, I was not about to stay home, not when Buffy and I could ride around in an air-conditioned truck. We ended up at Jones Lake.

Very little bloomed. This dodder made quite a display with the way it draped over the plants growing along the water’s edge.

I always thought dodder was an air plant, and found out otherwise last night when researching online. Dodder (Cuscuta genus) is a parasitic plant that feeds off other plants. It has no leaves. It has no chlorophyll and cannot make its own food.

It does have roots at the very beginning of its life. The seed sprouts on the ground, and the stem immediately reaches for a host plant to attach onto. The seedling can only survive 10 days before it dies.

Once attached, the dodder starts twining around the host plant, twining only in a counter-clockwise direction. It then loses it connection to the ground and is totally dependent on the host plant.

Little bumps that occur on the stem are called haustoria. The stem wraps around the host plant tightly to push the haustoria up against it. The haustoria actually then pushes its way into the stem of the host plant. The dodder then pulls the nutrients it needs to survive. This annual is found in open areas and partial shade.

The bumps in the picture are flower buds or seed capsules. Some were flowering. I’d never heard of haustoria until researching dodder. I didn’t know any of this when taking the pictures. All I basically knew was that the plants were dodder.

P.S.  Our electricity came back on at 8 p.m. when I was 5 minutes from home.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Therese on August 1, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Life is all about learning. Thanks for being my teacher.

    Reply

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