Dodder Vines

Q: I have orange vines, about the size of spaghetti, wrapping itself around my coreopsis and vinca. It does not seem to have roots. Any ideas what it is?

A: It’s the parasitic plant named dodder, also known as devil’s hair. I recently saw it blooming while it wrapped around raspberry canes near Asheville NC. 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.