Non-Alien Invasion

Cuscuta gronovii

What is this mysterious vine, climbing and spreading at the edge of the lake? Its tendrils are yellow, but it’s not dying. It has no apparent foliage, so maybe that’s why it’s not making chlorophyll.

It’s Common Dodder, probably the species Cuscuta gronovii, a parasitic plant that starts out with roots then begins to live entirely by sucking life from the host plant.

Here’s another interesting tidbit: Common Dodder gets its species name (gronovii) from the Dutch botanist Jan Frederk Gronovius, the teacher of Carolus Linnaeus. (What a near-ignominious honor, to have your name on a parasitic plant.) Linnaeus is the father of taxonomy, the system of naming living organisms using binomial nomenclature.

Common Dodder

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