Cuscuta dodder

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Cuscuta dodder Blog Image


An invasive weed Cuscuta dodder is slowly choking the Chengalpet forests and Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, threatening the local vegetation, ecology and habitat of migratory birds.

About Cuscuta dodder

  • It is native to North America.
  • It is a parasitic vine without roots, has already infested acres of trees in the reserve forests and has begun to spread inside India’s oldest bird sanctuary.
  • It is found that plants covering the canopy of Barringtonia trees, which are preferred by migratory water birds for nesting.
  • The holoparasitic plant builds a canopy on the host plant and casts thousands of tendrils to form a dense spectacle before it strangles and eventually kills it.
  • As per a technical paper published by the National Research Centre for Weed Science, in India, Cuscuta poses a serious problem in oilseeds, pulses and fodder crops in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Orissa, West Bengal and parts of Madhya Pradesh under rain fed as well as irrigated conditions.
  • Legislation in 25 countries has listed the dodder as a ‘declared noxious weed’ with seeds and plant material denied entrance. In United States, it is the only weed seed whose movement is prohibited in every state.
  • The seeds of Cuscuta are spheroid and have a hard, coat, which aids them to survive up to 50 years in dry storage and at least 10 years in the field.
  • Unlike root parasites, Cuscuta seeds do not require a specific stimulant to induce germination.

Q1) What are Holoparasitic plants?

 These plants are wholly dependent on host plants to survive, tapping into their xylem and phloem, gaining access to water, minerals, and other organic products. Holoparasitic plants don’t photosynthesize, but they do flower and often feature leaves that have reduced to scales and succulent stems.

Source: Parasitic creeper preys on Chengalpet forests, Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary