Cuscuta europaea, the greater dodder or European dodder, is a parasitic plant native to Europe, which belongs to the family Convolvulaceae, but was formerly classified in the family Cuscutaceae. It grows on Asteraceae, Cannabaceae, Chenopodiaceae, Fabaceae, Urticaceae and other herbaceous plants, including garden plants such as Coleus and Impatiens. It is a notable parasite of lucerne (Medicago sativa).
The long thin stems of C. europaea are yellowish or reddish. They have an inflorescence that is produced laterally along the stems, the flowers are arranged in compact glomerules with few to many flowers. The pedicels are up to 1.5 mm long. The 1.5 mm calyx is cup-shaped with 4 or 5 sepals that are triangular-ovate in shape. The 2.5–3 mm corolla is pink, with 4 or sometime 5 lobes. The corolla remains after anthesis and is often reflexed. The stamens are inserted below sinus and the filaments are longer than the anthers. The anthers are ovate-circular with very thin scales. The ovary is subglobose with 2 styles. The stigmas are divergent or curved. The 3 mm wide, rounded seed capsule, is capped by the withered corolla. Each capsule often has 4, pale brown, elliptic, seeds that are 1 mm long.
Cuscuta europaea can now be found in Japan, Kashmir; N Africa, W Asia (including Pakistan), Europe, occasionally in North and South America.
Derived from the Arabic word 'kechout', Cuscuta was the name used for this plant by Rufinus, a thirteenth-century botanist. The name europaea means 'European' or 'of Europe'.
- "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-01-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
- Gledhill, David (2008). "The Names of Plants". Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521866453 (hardback), ISBN 9780521685535 (paperback). pp 129, 159
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