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.

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