Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Beaked Dodder - Cuscuta rostrata   Shuttleworth
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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DistributionEssentially throughout the Mountains.

This is one of the few Eastern dodder species with a very small range -- being a Southern Appalachian endemic, ranging from WV and western VA south to extreme northeastern GA.
AbundanceFairly common to locally common, generally at high elevations, perhaps explaining the lack of collections from lower-elevation Mountain counties such as Alleghany and Cherokee.
HabitatThis species occurs in open woods, woodland margins, grassy balds, and other open areas at high elevations. It grows on numerous species, mostly on various composite species, but also often found on blackberries (Rubus spp.).
PhenologyBlooms in August and September, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationSee Taxonomic Comments. The description from Gleason (1952): "Flowers 4-6 mm. long, distinctly pediceled in small head-like umbels. Calyx much shorter than the corolla-tube, its lobes triangular-ovate to broadly ovate, very obtuse. Corolla-lobes broadly ovate, erect or eventually reflexed in fruit. Capsule broadly ovoid, 4-5 mm. in diameter, narrowed above into a short beak."
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)Appalachian Dodder
State RankS3S4
Global RankG4
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