New Species of Plants and Animals Discovered

Invasive Species:  Cuscuta Dodder


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Cuscuta Dodder

Mains level: NA

Cuscuta Dodder


  • An invasive weed, Cuscuta dodder, is gradually strangling the Chengalpet forests and Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, posing a severe threat to local vegetation, ecology, and the habitat of migratory birds.

About Cuscuta Dodder

  • Parasitic Nature: It is a parasitic vine devoid of roots, already infesting acres of trees in reserve forests and beginning to spread within India’s oldest bird sanctuary.
  • Origin: Native to North America.
  • Modus Operandi: As a holoparasitic plant, it forms a canopy on the host plant and extends thousands of tendrils, eventually forming a dense spectacle before strangling and killing the host.

Persistence and Germination

  • Seed Characteristics: Cuscuta seeds are spheroid with a hard coat, enabling them to survive up to 50 years in dry storage and at least 10 years in the field.
  • Germination: Unlike root parasites, Cuscuta seeds do not require a specific stimulant to induce germination, enhancing their ability to spread rapidly.

Impact and Spread

  • India: According to a technical paper by the National Research Centre for Weed Science, Cuscuta poses a significant problem in oilseeds, pulses, and fodder crops across various states, including Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Orissa, West Bengal, and parts of Madhya Pradesh under both rain-fed and irrigated conditions.
  • Global Legislation: It is listed as a ‘declared noxious weed’ in 25 countries, with seeds and plant material restricted from entry. In the United States, it is the only weed seed whose movement is prohibited in every state.

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