Sonoran Desert Naturalist >>> Field Guide >>> Sonoran Desert Flora >>> Convolvulaceae >>> Cuscuta indecora

Bigseed Dodder

Cuscuta indecora

Dodder, Cuscuta indecora, growing on Catclaw Acacia,  photo © by Michael Plagens

This clump of spaghetti-looking material is a parasitic dodder, Cuscuta indecora, and is growing on a Catclaw Acacia (Acacia greggii) at Mesquite Wash in Maricopa Co., Arizona, USA. Sept. 2009.

Cuscuta indecora photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed in the Wickenburg Mts., Yavapai Co., Arizona. 06 Sept. 2008.

VINE: Numerous fleshy, orange-yellow stems twine and drape over other plants. Stems attach to and parasitize the supporting plants by means of haustoria - root-like structures that penetrate the host plant.

LEAFLESS: Leaves are reduced to scales or essentially absent. Not photosynthetic - the plant obtains all energy and nutrients from its host.

FLOWERS: White flowers borne in clusters. Petals and sepals are thick, fleshy turning a rich brown color after anthesis. There are several similar species of Cuscuta in the Sonoran Desert region - this one has the showiest flowers - they are visited by butterflies and other insects.

RANGE: Frequent throughout the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and Mexico at roadsides, near agriculture and river flood plains and in major washes.

FRUIT: Dry four-seeded capsules.


Convolvulaceae -- Morning Glory Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2008