Page author: Don Knoke
Cuscuta occidentalis
western dodder

Distribution: In most Western states, Washington to California, east to Colorado.

Habitat: Found on many different hoasts.

Flowers: June-August

Origin: Native

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Parasitic, twining, annual or perennial herbs, with very slender, pinkish-yellow to white, glabrous stems, often forming large mats.


Leaves reduced to tiny scales.


Flowers usually sessile in small clusters; calyx about 2 mm. long, the lower half fleshy, the 5 lobes triangular, nearly 1 mm. long, acuminate, the tips spreading slightly; corolla slightly longer than the calyx, broadly bell-shaped, conspicuously pouched between the sepals, the 5 lobes lanceolate-acuminate, spreading, slightly longer than the tube; stamens 5, inserted just below the sinuses of the tube, slightly exerted; filament scales lacking; styles 2, 1-1.5 mm. long; ovary superior, 2-celled.


Capsule globose, not circumscissile.

Accepted Name:
Cuscuta occidentalis Millsp.
Publication: Publ. Field Columbian Mus., Bot. Ser. 5: 204. 1923.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Cuscuta californica Hook. & Arn. var. breviflora Engelm. [KZ99]
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Cuscuta occidentalis in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Cuscuta occidentalis checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Cuscuta occidentalis atlas page.

CalPhotos: Cuscuta occidentalis photos.

USDA Plants: Cuscuta occidentalis information.

6 photographs:
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