Dodder is a very strange plant, and a look at the rare Purple Owl’s clover.

Peter Baye was at Manchester State Park when he saw this plant, Dodder, Cuscuta.

Dodder, a parasitic plant, growing on Gumplant by Peter Baye

Dodder is the orange and beige string-like plant. It is parasitic and it has attached itself to a Gumplant, the green leaves in the photo. In the next photo you can see the little pegs on its bright-orange leafless thread-like stems. Peter tells me it inserts these into its host's leaves to obtain water and nutrients.

A stem of Dodder inserting itself into Gumplant by Peter Baye

It's blooming very early this year. Dodder has vanilla-scented flowers and is in the morning glory family.

Peter also found a half-parasite plant, a rare dune variety of Purple Owl's clover, Castilleja exerta subsp. latifolia.

Rare dune variety of Purple Owl's-clover, Castilleja exserta latifolia, by Peter Baye

Peter says it taps into dune sage's roots. There was obviously enough rain in early winter for it to grow.

Thanks to Peter for allowing me to share his photos with you here.

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