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 ?
"We are also exploring other avenues including positive uses of Cuscuta," he said, referring to a new study published in the American Journal of Agriculture and Forestry, which suggests that the weed could be an important source of medicine.So far, farmers are using manual methods of control which include uprooting infested plants and burning them.
Effect of Cuscuta chinensis water extract on 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthraceneinduced skin papillomas and carcinomas in mice.
As for the efficient extraction of active compounds including phenolic acids and flavonoids from Cuscuta chinensis Lam., some parameters which influenced the extraction efficiency were optimized.
Guo, "Differentiation of Cuscuta chinensis and Cuscuta australis by HPLCDAD-MS analysis and HPLC-UV quantitation," Planta Medica, vol.
What is Cuscuta: Digital Atlas of Cuscuta (Convolvulaceae).
Even worse for civilization as we know it, some Cuscuta species vampirize coffee plants and grapevines.
Previous work has shown that the growth rate and nutrient requirements of Cuscuta spp.
Ratanjot), Berberis lycium (Sumblo), Podophylum hexandrum (Ban kakri), Paeonia emodi (Mamekh) Achyranthes aspera (Puthknda), Acacia nilotica (Kiker), Calotropis procera (Aak), Cuscuta reflexa (Amer bel), Taraxacum officinale (peeli booti), Withania somnifera (Asghand), Solanum surattense (Mokri), Oxalis corniculata (Khati booti), Cannabis sativa (Bhang), Plantago major (Ispaghol), Viola odorata (Banafsha), etc.
These are Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp andrographis paniculata, Cuscuta reflexa Roxb and Chrysopogon acciculatus.
Some species, such as dodder (Cuscuta gronovii), field grapefern (Botnychium campestre), and wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) may have migrated from the east after deglaciation.
Azadirachta indica, Vitex negundo, Woodfordia fruticosa, Allium cepa, Cuscuta reflexa, Shorea robusta and Skimmia laureola were other important species in their uses for curing 4-5 types of skin related diseases.