Friday, July 03, 2009

Devil's Daughter

"Devil's Daughter", dodder (Cuscuta sp.)
Ector County, Texas

So, ok, it's not really called Devil's Daughter, it's called dodder. But it is also sometimes called devil's guts, devil's hair, and witch's shoelaces -- cool names I think.

I've seen this stuff for as long as I can remember living here, but I used to think it was some sort of oil field trash because of that weird orange color and because it looks strewn on the roadsides.

One day last summer I took a closer look and saw it's some sort of plant! But turns out, not a very nice plant. It's a parasite that will kill its host and can transmit some diseases to it also. Its seeds -- which it makes in abundance -- can last 5-10 years in the soil. It has a variety of plants it likes (and some it doesn't), unfortunately those it likes includes alfalfa, flax, and potatoes. Recently it was discovered the plant uses a kind of plant sense of smell to find its preferred host.

I used to think it was kind of cool, but after reading up on it, I'm thinking it's not too cool. Kinda pretty up close, but no, not cool.


Godinla said...

How do you find the names of the plants when you don't know they are? You can't just Google "strange cool little plant."

Frances said...

Isn't dodder edible?
get revenge, eat dodder. You may have to hold your nose, as with acorns! LOL

The Green Stone Woman said...

I'm convinced now that in Texas the most alien kind of plants grow. Things you couldn't even make up if you tried. It must have a landscape all of its own.

Kris Cahill said...

No wonder it's named "devil"! I also wonder how you find the names of unknown plants. I'll bet there's an iPhone app for that. :))