Cuscuta indecora, Bigseed Alfalfa Dodder
Scientific Name: Cuscuta indecora
Common Name: Bigseed Alfalfa Dodder
Also Called: Bigseed Alfalfa Dodder, Bigseed Dodder, Dodder, Largeseed Dodder, Large-seed Dodder, Pretty Dodder, Showy Dodder
Family: Convolvulaceae, Morning Glory Family; (formerly in the Cuscutaceae, Dodder Family)
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 north central, central and south central parts of the state.
North America & US County Distribution Map for Cuscuta indecora.
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 5 sub-species in Cuscuta indecora;
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.