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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

15 July, 2010

Common Dodder (Cuscuta epithymum)

The Dorset heaths are a really different sort of habitat to almost anywhere else with some unique species to be found.

Whilst Common Dodder is not totally a heathland species it seems most often to be found there. This is because it is a parasitic plant that grows on gorse and heather species.

It was once found in corn fields and pasture, clovers are another host, but it has been almost totally eradicated from food growing areas now by spraying.

Dodder is a member of the bindweed family and produces the same 'streamer' stems along which the tiny pink, five petalled flowers grow in July and August

The stems are red/brown and so merge in with the heathers where it is most commonly found. That, and he tiny flowers, mean that Dodder can be very easily overlooked.