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Cuscuta californica

Common name: Chaparral or California Dodder

Two of the photos below will look familiar to you: I wrote about Chaparral Dodder (Cuscuta californica) before, in my article “Leave that Dodder alone” from May this year.

To complete the picture(s), what was missing was a photo of the plant’s little white flowers. They’re quite hard to keep apart from the flowers of its host-plant, the California Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum) – the dodder has yellow/orange anthers and pointed petals though, the Buckwheat’s anthers are pink and its petals are rounded. For good measure, I added a close-up of the “tangle” of thin strands as they wind and twist around each other.

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9 thoughts on “Cuscuta californica”

  1. The flowers are pretty. Nice images. Not sure if the Dodder we have here in KS flowers. I have never seen it if it does.

  2. That’s fascinating about the flowers and it’s nice to see them so closely. Even having read your earlier post, I still have a knee-jerk negative reaction when I see dodder. I haven’t looked into how it “works” up here with other plants, and I should. Your photos give the plant an ethereal, pleasing look, even as tt twines around the buckwheat. In the first photo the dodder seems to be decorating the other plants rather than bothering them or competing with them.

  3. Those close-ups are such beautiful dodder photos! I remember when I first noticed the stuff six years ago near Big Pine, wondering, “What the heck is that?” It’s such a fascinating plant, both visually and biologically.


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