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Weed Seed: Cuscuta spp. (Dodder)



Common name



Prohibited Noxious, Class 1 in the Canadian Weed Seeds Order, 2016 under the Seeds Act. All imported and domestic seed must be free of Prohibited Noxious weed seeds.

Listed on the List of Pests Regulated by Canada established under the Plant Protection Act. (Exception of: Cuscuta cephalanthi, C. coryli, C. gronovii, C. megalocarpa, C. pentagona, C. polygonorum and C. salina).


Canadian: The genus includes 12 species found in Canada, distributed across all provinces except NT, NU and YT (Brouillet et al. 2016Footnote 1).

Worldwide: The genus contains 194 species and is nearly cosmopolitan with the majority of species (approximately 75%) native to North and South America, and a small number (15-20 spp.) distributed worldwide as agricultural and horticultural pests (Costea et al. 2015Footnote 2).

Duration of life cycle


Seed or fruit type


Identification features



Surface texture


Other features

Habitat and crop association

Dodders occupy a wide variety of habitats in temperate and tropical regions, including desert and riparian areas, littoral zones, high mountains, grasslands, forests, and saline and disturbed habitats. Like other parasitic plants, they are often keystone species in their ecosystems (Costea et al. 2015Footnote 2).

General information

Many dodder species are generalists, attacking a wide range of host species from different plant families, while others are more host-specific. Economically important species are especially problematic in legumes (e.g., alfalfa, clovers) and flax. Dodder species do not typically attack grasses or sedges (Poaceae, Cyperaceae) (Costea and Tardif 2006Footnote 3).

Similar species

Inert material


Field dodder (Cuscuta campestris) seeds
Field dodder (Cuscuta campestris) seed
Chinese dodder (Cuscuta chinensis) seeds
Chinese dodder (Cuscuta chinensis) seed
Big fruit dodder (Cuscuta megalocarpa) seeds
Big fruit dodder (Cuscuta megalocarpa) seed
Dodder (Cuscuta sp.) seed
Dodder (Cuscuta sp.) seed
Dodder (Cuscuta sp.) seed, cross-section through the seed
Dodder (Cuscuta sp.) seed, cross-section through the seed

Similar species

Similar species: Stone cells (from Solanum sp.), cross-section
Similar species: Stone cells (from Solanum spp.)
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