Dodder – Preventing Parasites

Q: My beautiful flowering thrift suddenly has lots of very thin yellow strings on it. I pull them off as they do not seem to be rooted, just attached to the stems.

A: It’s the parasitic plant named dodder, also known as devil’s hair. The seeds drop to the ground and sprout in late April. The tendril that emerges looks for a nearby plant to wrap around. Once it is tightly coiled, roots grow from the dodder into the parasitized plant stem. The dodder’s connection to the ground then shrivels away. Control of dodder is difficult. Pull and destroy all infected plants. Make a note to keep a sharp eye on your flower bed next year and do not let dodder become established.