|Scientific name:||Cuscuta spp.|
|Other scientific name/s:||Cuscuta campestris Yunck.|
|Other common name/s:||golden dodder|
Catchment management authority boundaries
Regionally prohibited in the Wimmera and West Gippsland Catchments
Regionally controlled in the Goulburn Broken, North East, Port Phillip and Western Port Catchments
Restricted in the Mallee, East Gippsland, North Central, Corangamite and Glenelg Hopkins Catchments
Herbaceous plant - Forb (flowering herbaceous plant - not a grass)
Golden dodder is an annual, parasitic vine.
Stems are bright yellow (golden) to green, often completely without chlorophyll. They are smooth, hairless, thread-like about 1 mm thick and branched, twining tightly on host plants. They attach by small suckers which penetrate the stems and leaves of the host plant.
Golden dodder has no true leaves or roots with leaves reduced to tiny scales which make them appear leafless.
Flowers are white to creamy-pink, bell-shaped and 3-4 mm in diameter. They are formed in clusters along the stems between spring and autumn.
Seeds are globe-shaped capsules of 3-4 mm in diameter and contain up to four seeds. Seeding is prolific.
Growth and lifecycle
Method of reproduction and disperal
Golden dodder is dispersed mainly by seed but can also be spread by stem fragments.
Seed is mostly spread via contaminated agricultural produce and farm machinery, but can also be dispersed by wind, water and soil. Some dispersal can also occur via animals in faeces and mud on their hooves.
Stem segments can survive through winter on perennial hosts.
Rate of growth and spread
Golden dodder grows rapidly. Seeds can germinate in spring, summer and autumn, but most germination takes place in late spring.
Optimum soil temperatures for germination are above 26 degrees Celsius. The emerging seedling must make contact with a suitable host plant within two to six days, otherwise it dies. In wet conditions, however, seedlings can survive for several weeks without a host.
Having attached to a host, the seedling then dies below the point of attachment and has no further contact with the soil.
It is entirely dependent on the host plant for nutrients and moisture. Twining stems grow rapidly over the host plant in a tangled mass, extracting nutrients as it grows.
Flowering occurs mostly in spring and early summer, and is closely followed by seed production. Seeds have a hard coat and can remain dormant in the soil for decades.
Seedbank propagule persistence
Seed production is prolific with up to 1,600 seeds per plant. Golden dodder seed is long-lived in the soil, and may still be germinating in low numbers 50 years after it was produced.
Golden dodder grows in a wide range of environmental conditions and on a wide variety of host plants including crops, sown pastures, vegetable, weeds and some tree species.
The weed will continue to grow through summer as long as the host plants remain active.
The plant requires the right combination of soil moisture and warm temperatures to germinate and grow.
In Victoria, golden dodder is widespread in the northern and central regions of the State.
The icons on the calendar below represent the times of year for flowering, seeding, germination, the dormancy period of Dodder and also the optimum time for treatment.
Impact on ecosystems and waterways
Golden dodder damages both agricultural and native plants and has been found on more than 80 different host plants in Australia.
Golden dodder can impact a wide range of native plants growing in pastures, along roadsides and in natural areas. It has been recorded growing on plants of grasslands and open woodlands, coastal, riparian and wetland areas.
The weed can form dense mats along river banks.
Agricultural and economic impacts
Golden dodder is a serious pest of crops, seed crops and sown pastures.
The most important host crop in Australia for the golden dodder is lucerne. However, the weed has also been found in a wide range of different field crops, pasture legumes, vegetables and horticultural plants such as lupins, carrots and onions. Many weed species and tree seedlings are also suitable hosts.
Crop yields can be significantly reduced as golden dodder parasitises and shades out the host plants. Infestation reduces yields of forage and seed and may reduce palatability. It is also a contaminant of hay and threatens the small seeds industry through seed contamination. The presence of golden dodder seed reduces the saleability of hay and seed crops and access to export markets.Infested areas can require quarantining for several years after undergoing a treatment program before crops can be grown again
Prescribed measures for the control of noxious weeds
- Treatment as directed by Agriculture Victoria
Other management techniques
Changes in land use practices and spread prevention may also support dodder management after implementing the prescribed measures above. Consultation with Agriculture Victoria is recommended.
W.T Parsons & E.G. Cuthbertson (1992) Noxious Weeds Of Australia, Inkata Press, Melbourne, Sydney.
Southern Tablelands and South Coast Noxious Plants Committee, Dodder, NSW, Southern Tablelands and South Coast Noxious Plants Committee <http://www.southeastweeds.org.au/index.pl?page=105>
B Trounce, L McCormick, N Nelson, (1998), Golden dodder: identification and control (Agfact P7.6.33), Second edition, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, © State of New South Wales, 2005, <http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/pests-weeds/weeds/profiles/dodder
Great Lakes Council, (2006), Golden Dodder - Class 4 Weed Control Management Plan, <http://www.greatlakes.nsw.gov.au/Home>
Animal and plant control commission, 2000. Weed Identification Notes - Dodder, Government of South Australia, <http://www.pir.sa.gov.au/>
Weeds Australia, Australian Weeds Committee, <http://www.weeds.org.au>
South East Natural Resources Management Board, (2006), Generic Dodder Management Plan – Draft, Government of South Australia
Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, (2007), Weeds in Australia, Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, © Commonwealth of Australia <http://www.weeds.gov.au/cgi-bin/weeddetails.pl?taxon_id= 20652#> Last updated: 10-Dec-2007
Department of Primary Industries, Regionally Prohibited Weed Information Sheet - Golden Dodder, 2010.