Dodder Cuscuta epithymum

Scientific Name: Cuscuta epithymum (Convolvulaceae).

English Name: Dodder; Common Dodder; Clover Dodder; Hellweed; Strangle-tare (Morning Glory family).

French Name: Cuscute du thym (='thyme dodder').

5 Key Characters:
  • reddish (can be yellow or purplish) threadlike stems (0.25 - 0.45 mm diameter) that twine counter-clockwise.
  • grows extremely rapidly in an erratic and irregular way.
  • flowers pinkish white, scented, stemless, in globular flowerheads.
  • rootless (attaches to host plant with a sucker) and entirely parasitic, especially on heather, gorse, clover, and members of the solanum (potato) family.
  • leafless (leaves reduced to tiny scales).


Habitat: Parasitic on a wide range of low growing plants, ultimately relying on disturbance of habitats to enable germination of seeds over long periods of time (disturbance is often in the form of regular management of a site).

Flowering Period: June-July-August-September.

Status: Locally common.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

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