Monday, July 29, 2013

Dodder - Cuscuta

Other names of this parasite include love vine, strangleweed, devil's-guts, goldthread, pull-down, devil's-ringlet, hellbine, hairweed, devil's-hair, and hailweed.
Dodder is an annual a leafless, parasitic. It is a bright twisting yellow or orange creeper sometimes tinted with purple or red. At times it is nearly white. The stems can be very thin and thread-like or rather firm. Dodder is said to contain some chlorophyll in the buds, fruits and stems, but the amount of food manufactured in this tissue is of little significance to the survival of the plant.

The flowers are small white, pink or yellowish. Dodder produces seed that falls to the ground and sprout the next growing season if a suitable host is present. If no suitable host is present, the seed may remain dormant for five years. The seeds can travel by water along irrigation channels. Moist soil and sunlight is required for germination.

Dodder seedlings must attach to an appropriate host within a few days of germinating or they die. The young seedling is delicate to touch and yellowish stem touches in the air until it makes contact with a plant. The contact is made firm by one or more loops about the stem. If this plant happens to contain foods suitable to the dodder then a secondary provocation is aroused, this causes root-like branches (haustoria) to form and penetrate the stem. The basal part of the parasite soon shrinks away so that no soil connection exists.

Dodder attack only when a rival is close by, and every so often gain surprise on their victims. Their vines do not directly cause destruction, but are rather used to struggle victims. Once an enemy is struggled, it attempts to constrict it to death.

Pulling and destroying dodder infected plants is recommended. Dodder must be destroyed before it produces seeds or infestations will spread. Once established, dodder appears in patches in the field. Cutting the host plant earlier to the dodder producing seed helps reduce the quantity of seed.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Roselle - Hibiscus sabdariffa


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