Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Dodder: Cuscuta spp.

Weed Description:  A yellowish to reddish-brown parasitic vine that attaches on to host plants causing reductions in yield and/or fitness of desirable species.  Dodder is primarily a weed of landscapes, nurseries, and cucurbit crops, but this weed can occasionally be found in other agronomic crops like alfalfa.

Seedlings:  Seedlings develop only for a short time until the stalks are able to attach to a host plant.   Seedlings resemble mature plants and are yellowish to reddish-brown stems and no apparent leaves.

Leaves: Occur as scales that are rarely noticeable.

Stems: Twining, usually counterclockwise in direction, branching, and yellowish to reddish-brown in color.

Roots: Occur only for a short time until the plant is able to attach to a host.

Flowers:  Occur in relatively inconspicuous clusters.  Flowers are white or pink in color.

Fruit:  A round capsule that is approximately 3 mm long and contains 4 seeds.

Identifying Characteristics:  The vining nature and yellowish to reddish-brown color of dodder makes this easy to distinguish from most other weeds, however several species of dodder occur throughout the United States.