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Invasive MONSTER WEED: Dodder (Cuscuta spp)

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Project by mmh posted 05-19-2011 10:56 AM 3391 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I posted this earlier in a blog but thought it worthy of a Project so that others may be aware of this MONSTER WEED! aka: Cuscuta (dodders)

One day I spied this unusual tendril of yellow/green growing among some herbs and I left it not knowing what it was. Everyday I looked at it, it seemed to grow another 6 inches longer. I watched it closely, as it started to entwine among everything it touched and noticed that where it touched a plant, it started to envelope the stem and formed a flattened pad to enable it to absorb the other plant’s nutrients. This was truly a parasite and it was parasitizing everything in plant form that it touched. It also was starting to root itself into the soil when it could. The growth was rampant and if I did not take immediate action, it would easily and QUICKLY take over my garden.

I had to carefully pull and remove every centimeter of this parasitic weed, as it easily broke off in your hand, so that if you left a small piece on a plant or on the soil, it would grow!

I believe I saw a documentary several years back that this was invading some states such as Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee (not really sure which states in the USA) and the locals had a lore that had the young girls breaking up the plants and throwing them along the roadside or pathways they ventured as it would bring them good luck to find a husband. So, the parasitic plant was going rampant and unchecked, to say the least.

Fortunately, these states get cold enough to stop growth during the winter, but in Hawaii, it does not and this plant has been used to make special leis. Fortunately, the locals in Hawaii find this a very beautiful plant to use, so it’s being harvested when possible, but can you imagine the damage it can do if not able to harvest?

If you see this growing, I highly suggest that you try to remove every centimeter possible. A weed killer may be appropriate for areas that are too large or unobtainable. Your first step would be to contact your local agency to see what should be done.

May you NEVER have to deal with this invasive MONSTER WEED!

-- A weed is a plant that is growing where it was not purposefully placed by human hands.



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mmh

332 posts in 3309 days
hardiness zone 7a

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8 comments so far

View Cindy's profile

Cindy

346 posts in 2491 days
hardiness zone 6

posted 05-19-2011 11:15 AM

I’ve never seen anything like – what is it called? And I thought sweet pea was a nightmare – at least it has pretty leaves and flowers! (and it doesn’t drain the plants around it). You’re in Maryland and I’m in Virginia, so I’d better be on the lookout…thanks for the heads-up!

-- ~ Cindy, Virginia Appalachians, UDSA Hardiness Zone 6 ~

View mmh's profile

mmh

332 posts in 3309 days
hardiness zone 7a

posted 05-19-2011 11:32 AM

Here is a website that has more information on this parasite: http://www.swarthmore.edu/NatSci/cpurrin1/dodder.htm

-- A weed is a plant that is growing where it was not purposefully placed by human hands.

View mmh's profile

mmh

332 posts in 3309 days
hardiness zone 7a

posted 05-19-2011 11:37 AM

Interestingly enough, there are photos showing how beautiful nature is (when it’s not invading your garden) and this is a closeup of a cross section of this parasitic plant: http://www.botany.org/plantimages/ImageData.asp?IDN=abot96-09

-- A weed is a plant that is growing where it was not purposefully placed by human hands.

View Cindy's profile

Cindy

346 posts in 2491 days
hardiness zone 6

posted 05-19-2011 12:23 PM

I hope I never see that around here…good luck with it.

-- ~ Cindy, Virginia Appalachians, UDSA Hardiness Zone 6 ~

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3780 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 05-19-2011 05:12 PM

bindweed covers everything but I don’t think it is vampirish….

thanks for this information.
As the climate changes, its territory will widen.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Weedwacker's profile

Weedwacker

297 posts in 2707 days

posted 06-01-2011 12:33 PM

Debbie hates bindweed, I hate Dead Nettle and now this monster. And when I was a kid digging dandylions I thought that was the worst weed. Give me a dandylion any day.

-- Margaret, Eagle Creek, Oregon. A garden is never finished.

View Bon's profile

Bon

7374 posts in 3560 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 06-04-2011 10:19 AM

Wow that is one bad plant.Good luck with getting rid of it.I hope it never makes it’s way to my place.

-- Bon,Hastings,Ont.....zone 5a....Always room for one more

View Vince Kirchner's profile

Vince Kirchner

192 posts in 2569 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 10-11-2011 10:27 AM

I’m with Debbie on the bindweed, been fighting that all summer. I have uses for the dead nettle and the dandelion, but I have not found anything useful from the bindweed. But I have never seen anything like the Dodder (making the sign of the cross while typing).

-- If you wouldn't spray it in your mouth, why would you spray it on your food?

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