Dodder , genus Cuscuta , any leafless, twining, parasitic plant in the morning glory family Convolvulaceae. The genus contains about twining species that are widely distributed throughout the temperate and tropical regions of the world. Many species have been introduced with their host plants into new areas. The dodder contains no chlorophyll and instead absorbs food through haustoria ; these are rootlike organs that penetrate the tissue of a host plant and may kill it. The slender, stringlike stems of the dodder may be yellow, orange, pink, or brown in colour. Its leaves are reduced to minute scales.
Parasitic Flowering Plants
Monotropa uniflora - Wikipedia
A parasitic plant is a plant that derives some or all of its nutritional requirement from another living plant. All parasitic plants have modified roots, called haustoria , which penetrate the host plants, connecting them to the conductive system — either the xylem , the phloem , or both. For example, plants like Striga or Rhinanthus connect only to the xylem, via xylem bridges xylem-feeding. Alternately, plants like Cuscuta and Orobanche connect only to the phloem of the host phloem-feeding.
Texas Invasive Species Institute
The Japanese dodder Cuscuta japonica is a parasitic vine that requires a host plant for food and water to survive. It is normally an annual plant but it may overwinter on host plant and in warm climates it can grow year round. The smooth stems have many branches and lack chlorophyll so they can vary in appearance from pale green to gold.
Cuscuta is the name of a group of plants in the morning glory family, of which the species Cuscuta epithymum is most commonly used in healing. A member of the Cuscutaceae family, species of cuscuta are found almost everywhere in the world, although cuscuta is more often called dodder in English-speaking countries. Other names include hellweed, devil's gut, beggarweed, strangle tare, scaldweed, dodder of thyme , greater dodder, and lesser dodder. In Chinese, cuscuta seeds are called tu si zi. Cuscuta is a parasitic plant.