Dodder (cuscutaceae)


Esteemed Member
Dodder was found in Miami Dade County. You may want to check you plants.

My neighbor called me over to see if I knew " this strange vine thing on my crotons". I looked at it and told him what it was. He told me his wife pulled it off but returned promptly.

Never having seen Dodder before, I got to give credit to Harold Lee. His article on page 6 of the March 2009 Croton Society Newsletter made me look good identifying this parasitic plant.

My neighbor had taken pieces to a master gardener and the local extension office. Neither could ID it. His "gardener" could not either, that really don't suprise me. The neighbor googled "Dodder" and found photos. He E-mailed the photos to the extension office and the master gardener. The extension office denied that it was Dodder. I found Lee's article and my neighbor scanned it and sent it to the extension office. After reviewing the article, they admitted it to be Dodder.

My neighbor was a bit peeved with the extension office. He asked them how I could look at something for 5 seconds and make an ID and they had no answer for a week. Lee made me look like a botanical maven! :)

The extension office told my neighbor to put plastic down around the plant to "destroy the seeds". They did not comprehend Lee's article. We ripped out the four crotons (Aureo Maculatum aka Gold Dust) and put them in the trash can. We also removed the mulch and top two inches of top soil. It has not reappeared or infested the other crotons in the same vicinity.

Just thought I'd give everyone a heads up. :D
Good luck keeping Dodder out. If it is not a Florida native, it surely has naturalized here. I have seen this plant all over Broward ever since I can remember. Where it is prevalent is in scrub type habitat that naturally burns off every decade or two, keeping the parasitic vine in check. Most of these scrubs are now islands in a sea of suburbia and not allowed to burn, and so the dodder thrives there.

It is a world wide genus. I even saw some in New Caledonia on the Biennial there, years ago.