Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Compact Dodder - Cuscuta compacta   Jussieu ex Choisy
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Section 6 » Order Solanales » Family Convolvulaceae
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AuthorJussieu ex Choisy
DistributionNearly statewide, perhaps being absent in the far eastern counties, and in some northern mountain counties.

This is an Eastern species, ranging from MA and IA, south to southern FL and eastern TX.
AbundanceFrequent to common in most of the Coastal Plain and eastern Piedmont (except very scarce near the eastern coast). Fairly common in the southern half of the mountains and southern Piedmont, but scarce in the northwestern Piedmont and northern mountains.
HabitatThis is a wetland species -- growing in bottomlands and damp openings, marshes, stream margins, wet fields, and other wet places. It grows mostly on woody hosts, less so on semi-woody plants.
PhenologyBlooms from August to frost, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationSee Taxonomic Comments. The description from Gleason (1952): "Flowers sessile in small but dense clusters, 4-5 mm. long. Bracts 3-5, closely appressed, broadly rounded and commonly wider than long, the inner progressively longer. Corolla-lobes ovate, obtuse. Capsule ovoid to globose, not beaked, 3-5 mm. in diameter."
Taxonomic CommentsThe species of Cuscuta all share a few similar features, and they are difficult to separate except by mostly small characters, best seen with a hand lens or microscope. Each is a parasitic vine, lacking roots or true leaves, and nearly all are orange or yellow in color, twining up its host plant with the use of tiny aerial "roots". The small white flowers are in clusters along the stem. These plants should be quite familiar as a group, often presenting a tangled mass of orange vines growing over other plants. See Weakley (2018) or other references for keys to assist in identification.
Other Common Name(s)Sessile Dodder, Love-vine
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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