Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Cuscuta indecora, Bigseed Alfalfa Dodder

Cuscuta indecora, Bigseed Alfalfa Dodder, Southwest Desert Flora Cuscuta indecora, Bigseed Alfalfa Dodder, Southwest Desert Flora Cuscuta indecora, Bigseed Alfalfa Dodder, Southwest Desert Flora Cuscuta indecora, Bigseed Alfalfa Dodder, Southwest Desert FloraCuscuta indecora, Bigseed Alfalfa Dodder, Southwest Desert Flora

Scientific Name: Cuscuta indecora
Common Name: Bigseed Alfalfa Dodder
Also Called: Bigseed Alfalfa Dodder, Bigseed Dodder, Dodder, Largeseed Dodder, Large-seed Dodder, Pretty Dodder and Showy Dodder.
Family: Convolvulaceae, Morning Glory Family; (formerly in the Cuscutaceae, Dodder Family)
Synonyms: ()
Status: Native.
Duration: Perennial
Size: Height variable, dependent on host species.
Growth Form: Forb/herb, vine; parasitic, stems slender often transparent or yellow-orange, rarely green, more grow indefinitely throughout the season.
Leaves: White; alternate, reduced to small erect ovate scales, some lobed.
Flower Color: White; showy but small fleshy flowers; 5 petals, 5 sepals, petals and sepals similar (tepals); fruit a round capsule containing many seeds.
Flowering Season: May to September.
Elevation: Up to 5,500 feet.
Habitat Preferences: Moist areas; parasitizes herbaceous or woody host plants.
Recorded Range: Cuscuta indecora is found throughout the United States, Saskatchewan, Canada and Mexico. Also found in the Caribbean and South America. In Arizona Bigseed Alfalfa Dodder is found in the northcentral, central and southcentral parts of the state.

U.S. Weed Information: Cuscuta indecora is listed in: Weeds of the Northeast. Plants included here may become weedy or invasive.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: Cuscuta indecora is listed as a Noxious Weed by the federal government and 13 states. Plants included here are invasive or noxious.
Wetland Indicator: No information available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: The state of New Jersey has listed Cuscuta indecora, Bigseed Alfalfa Dodder as Endangered.

Genus Information: About 50 species in Cuscuta in North America, 17 species in Arizona. There are 4 sub-species in Cuscuta indecora, 2 sub-species in Arizona;
Cuscuta indecora bifida (NV only), Bigseed Alfalfa Dodder,
Cuscuta indecora indecora (AZ), Bigseed Alfalfa Dodder,
Cuscuta indecora longisepala (TX and AR only), Bigseed Dodder,
Cuscuta indecora neuropetala (AZ), Bigseed Dodder and
Cuscuta indecora choisy var. warneri, Warner’s Dodder (= Cuscuta warneri).

Comments: Bigseed Alfalfa Dodder is a parasitic plant that attaches to, and may consume its host plant. Cuscuta seeds may remain viable in the soil 5 or 10 years. Upon germination Cuscuta must reach a suitable green host plant within 1 week or so or parish. Cuscuta is a unispecific genus in the former Cuscutaceae Family.

Date Profile Completed: 4/12/2015, rev. 07/22/2015
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database – ITIS search
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Cuscuta', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 1 March 2015, 04:20 UTC,
[accessed 12 April 2015]
1993, The Jepson Manual, Citation: (accessed 4/12/2015)
CLIMBERS, Censusing Lianas In Mesic Biomes of Eastern RegionS; A project of Robyn J. Burnham, University of Michigan. (accessed 4/12/2015)
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names and recorded geographic locations,
USDA Weed Information: Cuscuta, Cuscuta indecora, Bigseed Alfalfa Dodder
US, USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ). 2012. Federal noxious weed list (1 February 2012). USDA, APHIS, PPQ. Washington, DC.
STATE, Assorted authors. State noxious weed lists for 46 states. State agriculture or natural resource departments. N'EAST, Uva, R.H., J.C. Neal,and J.M. DiTomaso. 1997. Weeds of the Northeast. Cornell University Press. Ithaca, New York. USDA – Noxious Weed Information: United States: Cuscuta, Dodder, noxious weed 1
Alabama, Cuscuta, Dodder, Class A noxious weed 1
Arizona, Cuscuta, Dodder, both Prohibited and Restricted noxious weed
Arkansas, Cuscuta, Dodder Noxious weed
California, Cuscuta, Dodder C list (noxious weeds), Dodder, Quarantine 1
Florida, Cuscuta, Dodder, Noxious weed 2
Massachusetts, Cuscuta, Dodder, Prohibited
Michigan, Cuscuta, Dodder, Noxious weed
Minnesota, Cuscuta, Dodder, Prohibited noxious weed 1
North Carolina, Cuscuta, Dodder, Class A noxious weed 1
Oregon, Cuscuta, dodder "B", designated weed, dodder, Quarantine
South Carolina, Cuscuta, dodder, Plant pest 1
South Dakota, Cuscuta, dodder, Regulated non-native plant species
Vermont, Cuscuta, dodder, Class A noxious weed 1
1 other than native or widely distributed species
2 Only the native Florida species are excluded from this list. These include: C. americana, C. compacta, C. exaltata, C. gronovii, C. indecora, C. obtusiflora, C. pentagona, C. umbellata
USDA, Threatened and Endangered Information:
New Jersey, Cuscuta indecora, Collard Dodder as Endangered. Vine
  • Cuscuta indecora, Bigseed Alfalfa Dodder