Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Common Dodder - Cuscuta gronovii   Willdenow ex Roemer & J.A. Schultes
Members of Convolvulaceae:
Members of Cuscuta with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Solanales » Family Convolvulaceae
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AuthorWilldenow ex Roemer & J.A. Schultes
DistributionEssentially statewide, though about half of the counties lack collections. Nonetheless, the counties where collected span the entire state, except for a lack of records from the southernmost counties of the Coastal Plain and eastern Piedmont (certainly an artifact of collection).

This is a very wide-ranging species across most of the continent, except for a few Far Western states.
AbundanceFrequent to common in the Mountains, and fairly common to common (and clearly under-collected) in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain.
HabitatThis is essentially a wetland species, growing on a variety of herbaceous or woody plants. It is found in bottomlands and openings, along stream margins, marshes, swamps, wet fields, and other damp places.
PhenologyBlooms from August to October, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationSee Taxonomic Comments. The description from Gleason (1952): "Flowers 2.5-4 mm. long, sessile or subsessile in dense clusters. Calyx short, its lobes broadly round-ovate to subrotund, overlapping, scarcely reaching the middle of the corolla-tube. Corolla-lobes broadly ovate, obtuse, spreading, shorter than the tube. Scales commonly copiously fringed, reaching to the sinuses of the corolla. Styles nearly as long as the ovary. Capsule commonly globose-ovoid, about 3 mm. in diameter; seeds about 1.5 mm. long."
Taxonomic CommentsWeakley (2024) splits out Cuscuta saururi from this species. However, no SERNEC specimens exist by this name, nor does Google contain information on this taxon. Thus, this website does not believe that elevating saururi to full species at the present time is warranted by the data. His map shows it as uncommon" in all three NC provinces.

The 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)Swamp Dodder, Scaldweed
State RankS5
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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B.A. SorriePiedmont, weedy powerline by Welch Road, Oct 2018. MoorePhoto_natural
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