The closest stop sign is over a mile away and the first traffic light is 5+ miles down the road. A visit to the grocery store is almost 30 miles round trip. It's quiet here; just the sound of toads and coyotes at night. It seems very still, but when you look close there's always something happening. Read on about a few things we've noticed over the past few years.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Weird parasite

I spotted this from quite a distance because of it's brilliant color, density and size.  It's called California Dodder and also is known as Chaparral Dodder.  It looks like something that grows in the ocean.  Dodder is a vine-like, parasitic plant with slender yellow-orange stems. It appears leafless, and is in the same plant family as the Morning glory. The orange color makes it easy to spot - it has NO green on it at all so the green you see in the photos is from the host plant. Dodder is a parasitic plant and is completely dependent on the host plant for water, nutrients and physical support. It attaches to its host by means of haustoria root-like structures that grow into the host plant and allow the flow of water and nutrients into the dodder.  It is native to western North America.

There are many nick names for dodder reflecting its appearance such as strangleweed, hell bind and witch’s hair.   All seem appropriate. 
The strings of this plant feel like a rubber band. 
It's clean, no stickiness or scent.

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