Common dodder, Hartland Point

Common dodder, Hartland Point

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Pink-flowered Common Dodder (Cuscuta epithymum) growing among Common Gorse (Ulex europaeus) on the cliff tops of Hartland Point.  Dodders are parasitic plants with an unusual life-cycle.  Alike with most plants they begin life as a seed germinated in soil, however within just a few days of emerging they need to find a host plant in order to survive.  They grow towards preferred plants using smell to guide them, then they send out vein-like stems that produce barbs for hooking into the host plant’s foliage so that it can feed.  Once established the dodder’s root then dies off and then the plant will go on to invade other similar plants when the original host is depleted.