Dodder (Cuscuta gronovii)—Russ Kinne—Photo Researchers

Any of the leafless, twining, parasitic vines (see parasitism) that make up the genus Cuscuta in the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae), containing 145 species found throughout temperate and tropical regions. The stringlike stems may be yellow, orange, pink, or brown. Many species have been introduced with their host plants into new areas. Dodders contain no chlorophyll, instead absorbing water and food through rootlike organs called haustoria that penetrate the tissue of a host plant and may kill it. Dodder can do great damage to crops of clover, alfalfa, flax, hops, and beans. The best control is to remove the plant from fields by hand and to prevent its accidental introduction.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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