Alfalfa Dodder   
Foto info
Alfalfa Dodder
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Alfalfa Dodder • Ladakhi: ཨམརལཏཱ Amarlata
Botanical name: Cuscuta approximata    Family: Convolvulaceae (Morning glory family)
Synonyms: Cuscuta cupulata, Cuscuta urceolata

Alfalfa Dodder is a parasitic vine which climbs other plants and takes nutrition directly from them. The dodder resembles a pile of light yellow to orange-red thread wrapped tightly around its host plant. It is mostly stem - the leaves are reduced to scales on the stem's surface. Stems are threadlike, less than 1 mm in diameter. Flowers are borne laterally in compact glomerules, few to many flowered. Sepal is cup-shaped, 2-2.5 mm, sepals overlapping. Flowers are stalkless, white to pink, bell-shaped, 2-2.5 mm. Petals are triangular-ovate, shorter than the tube. Stamens remain inside the flower. Anthers are ovate-circular, about as long as or shorter than filaments. Ovary is nearly spherica. Style is about as long as or shorter than threadlike stigmas. Capsules are enclosed by withered flowers, somewhat spherica. Seeds are ovoid, about 1 mm. Alfalfa Dodder is found in N Africa, SW Asia and S Europe. In India, it is found in Ladakh.

Photographed in Leh, Ladakh.
• Is this flower misidentified? If yes,