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Cuscuta pacifica

Cuscuta pacifica is a species of dodder. Its common name is goldenthread.[1][2]

Distribution[edit]

The plant is native to the coast of western North America from British Columbia to Baja California,. It is a halophyte, living in coastal salt marsh habitats, such as the San Francisco Bay.

Description[edit]

Cuscuta pacifica is a slender annual vine with yellowish thread-like stems that wrap tightly around other plants. The leaves are reduced to tiny scales, and it possesses no roots because it is a parasitic plant, like all Cuscuta, and taps nutrients from host plants with its haustoria.

The salt marsh dodder produces flowers with bell-shaped, white glandular corollas with five pointed triangular lobes. It tends to parasitize Salicornia, but also may be found on other species such as Jaumea carnosa and Grindelia stricta.

Varieties[edit]

The species includes two varieties.

  • Cuscuta pacifica var. pacifica is significantly more common, occurring throughout the species range. [3]
  • Cuscuta pacifica var. papillata is a very rare endemic of sand-dune habitats in Mendocino County. [4]

Previous treatments included this species as two varieties of a more broadly defined Cuscuta salina, but they were recently recognized to be a distinct species with clear habitat and host affinities and reproductively isolated from Cuscuta salina var. salina.[5]

References[edit]

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