Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Dodder (Cuscuta campestri)

I never thought I would see a weed that I haven’t seen before in my area. Dodder, sometimes called strangleweed or field dodder, is a new one to me. I found it the other day while working in a local garden. It’s not a weed I will soon forget.

I searched online and verified through the Lehigh County Extension office.

It is a parasitic weed. The yellow tendrils wrap around the host plant (snapdragon in the picture) and suck the life blood out of the plant. The weed can cover a plant or shrub quickly. There are no roots to pull. Once the seed germinates, dodder gets all its nourishment from the host plant. One plant can produce up to 3,000 seeds. The seeds can remain in the soil for years.

I put a plastic trash bag over the affected plants, pulled them out and put the whole thing in the dumpster. I’ll use Preen to discourage any seeds from germinating. I’ll have to be sure to watch for a recurrence next year.

(More information about dodder from the University of California and Purdue University.)


donna said...

Strangleweed? Wow! That's frightening.

Marie said...

It is a creepy weed. I hope I never see it again.