Cuscuta


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Cuscuta

 

(dodder), a genus of parasitic plants of the family Cuscutaceae. The plants, which are noxious weeds, are nearly leafless and rootless. The threadlike or ribbonlike stem is yellowish, greenish yellow, or reddish; it may be smooth or warty. Winding itself around a plant host, the dodder embeds itself in the host’s tissue with haustoria and feeds on its juices. The small flowers (2 to 7 mm) are whitish, pinkish, or greenish; they are gathered into glomerulate, spicate, or globular inflorescences. The fruit is a capsule with four seeds (rarely two or one). The seeds remain viable for several years. The lower end of the stem attaches itself to the soil, and the upper end, making circular motions, locates a suitable plant to wind itself around and parasitize.

Dodders, which are native to tropical America and Africa, are found everywhere. Of the approximately 100 known species, 36 are found in the USSR. The most common species are C. campestris, C. trifolii, clover dodder (C. epithymum), flax dodder (C. epilinum), large dodder (C. europeae), C. monogyna, and C. lehmanniana. Dodders parasitize weeds, forage grasses, vegetables, melons, potatoes, flax, jute, kenaf, and various trees and shrubs. Dodders disrupt the metabolism in the host plants, seriously weakening them, retarding their growth and development, and often killing them. The harvest quality and size are lowered. Fruits become less tasty, the quality of flax fiber is lowered, and the amount of sugar in sugar beets is decreased. Herbs mown for hay that are parasitized by dodders dry slowly, become moldy, lose nutritional value, and cause disease in animals that eat them. Dodders are also carriers of viral plant diseases.

Control measures include strict quarantine of plants; proper crop rotation; decontamination of seed; destruction of parasitized vegetables, tobacco, and other crops; mowing of affected forage grasses before the dodder blossoms; burning of stubble with a flame thrower or spraying it with herbicides; and pulling of flax before the dodder seeds mature.

REFERENCES

Flora SSSR, vol. 19. Moscow-Leningrad, 1953.
Beilin, I. G. Bor’ba s povilikami i zarazikhami. Moscow, 1967.

Z. M. ARKHANGEL’SKAIA

cuscuta

symbol of cruelty. [Flower Symbolism; Jobes, 399]
See: Cruelty
References in periodicals archive ?
Caption: One of the dodder vines, Cuscuta reflexa, twines over neighboring plants and sucks the life out of them--unless they have a wooden-stake gene.
Distribution: Ne, Nevadense, Be, Baetican, Ib, Iberian, Ib-N, Iberian-northern African, Eu, European, Eu-N, European-northern African, Others, widely distributed) Summit New species Lost species PUL Cuscuta sp.
La parasita Cuscuta indecora, a pesar de presentar una baja frecuencia de aparicion en la vegetacion de todos los parches (no supero 30%, Anexo 1) tiene densidades entre 8 y 561 s/ [m.
A phylogeny inferred from large ribosomal subunit (26S) rDNA sequences suggests that Cuscuta is a derived member of Convolvulaceae.
To do this solvents with various polarities were used to extract least-polar compounds (petroleum ether extract) constituents of intermediate polarities [Chloroform (CHCl3) extract] and polar constituents [methanol (MeOH) extract] from pulverized biomass of Cuscuta reflexa.
BP-E HER CELASTRACEAE Celastrus pringlei Rose BMM AB Hippocratea celastroides Kunth BMM, BTC AB CONVOLVULACEAE Cuscuta corymbosa Ruiz & Pav.
Genus Cuscuta is a yellow twinning leafless herb and the only parasitic member of ivy family.
Cuscuta australis is an annual parasitic plant that wraps around other plants for nourishment and forms the major flora of the tropical East and West Africa, Japan, and Australia [10].