California Dodder (Cruscuta californica)
Cruscuta californica, California dodder or witches hair, is a California native parasitic plant. It grows as a leafless viney plant with slender orange to yellowy stems that fasten to their host plant by means of a knobb,y root-like structure called a haustoria. Through this structure, dodder draws its nourishment from the host. If any leaves are present, they are minute and scale-like. The flowers are small and white.
Cuscuta is a genus of about 100–170 species of parasitic flowering plants found throughout the temperate and tropical regions of the world. There are several similar-looking species of dodder in Southern California which tend to be fairly specific to their host plants. Cruscuta californica tends to be mostly partial to buckwheats and sages.