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NATURE & GASTRONOMY

  

 

 

  Giant Dodder

 

Laos

The Dodder is a genus of a parasitic plant, with a yellowish, slender, filament-like appearance, that reminds of spaghetti or noodles, especially of bamih (fig.), and is known by the scientific designation Cuscuta.

 

Worldwide, this genus has well over 100 species, found throughout subtropical and tropical regions. The botanical name for the species most frequently found in Thailand, and as here in Laos, is Cuscuta reflexa, which is known by the common names Giant Dodder and Southern Asian Dodder.

 

  Giant Dodder

 

  Giant Dodder

 

Because most species lack or have very low levels of chlorophyll, they cannot photosynthesize fully –though Cuscuta reflexa is able to do so slightly– they generally have a yellowish colour.

 

This parasitic vine grows fast and rapidly forms a dense mass of thin, apparently leafless stems, entwined in the host plant. In fact, many species do have leaves, but those are reduced to minuscule scales and barely visible from a distance. It germinates in the earth, then, after the part of the germinated seed which later grows into the root dies, it clings to its host, which may become completely overgrown.

 

  Giant Dodder