Cuscuta epithymum. Dodder.

Life-form & Growth Form:  

Therophyte. Herbaceous annual. Vegetative spread using far-creeping stolons, allowing plants to form extensive clones but the stolons do not take root.  

Flowering period: 

July to September.  


Parasitic on Ulex europaeus, Thymus, Lotus, Ononis and Galium verum; fixed coastal dunes. Heathland, chalk downland, casual on field boarders. Lowland.


Habitat loss and fragmentation as sand dunes are removed to make way for golf courses, amenity sites, private housing and agriculture. Many areas of coastal Gorse scrub are routinely removed as it is seen as unsightly. Agricultural run-off into sandy coastal sites reduces floral diversity, resulting in loss of host species. Disjunct populations in Co. Down and Co. Derry increase risk of local and regional extinction. Loss of lowland heath, ploughing of chalk downlands, increase in shrub. 

Static distribution map:
Cuscuta epithymum
Cuscuta epithymum

For an interactive map follow this link to the BSBI webpage