Spooky Story

Devil's hair sits in wait as a seed under the soil for up to sixty years (Cook, 2006) waiting for just the right time and victim.  Once the time is right, Cuscuta creeps up above the soil.  It begins by circling around, sniffing out its host (Runyon, et al, 2006).

Joseph M. DiTomaso, University of California, Bugwood.org

Devil's Hair stalks its prey and winds around it.  Within days, dodder sticks a haustorium into the phloem of the host plant to siphon out nutrients.  Fibers grow from the haustorium to find more nutrients for dodder to suck from the host (Cook, 2006).  Dodder continues to wind around its host, or string along to another host as Cuscuta grows quickly in length.  This can cause the plant to die, or to be worn down and unable to prevent disease.  Eventually, dodder might overgrow the plant, blocking sunlight and killing the plant in a slow, painful, sunlight starved death.

Devil's hair is a farmer's worst nightmare.  Cuscuta attacks a crop quickly, with devastating economic results (Cook, 2006).  If dodder isn't stopped, it quickly ravages the crop, leaving the farmer helpless at harvest and the rest of the year (Wright, et al. 2007).

Joseph M. DiTomaso, University of California- Davis, Bugwood.org

Click here for more about Interactions.
Click here for more about Adaptations.
Click here to continue to References.
Click here to go