Host range diversity of Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. in South 24-Parganas District of West Bengal.
The district South 24-Parganas of West Bengal, India, lies between 22° 33′ 45″N to 22° 29′ 0″N latitude and 89° 4′ 50″E to 88° 3′ 45″E longitude. The district has a magnificient floral diversity embedded by the limits of the Gangetic delta. The district has low-lying Sunderbans towards the sea and possesses the network of tidal channels, rivers, creeks and islands. The rivers of the district are the Bhagirathi, Gosaba, Matla, Gumdi, Thakuran, Saptamukhi, including the Muri Ganga. In this district, dodder (C. reflexa) is a plant species that parasitize on a broad range of hosts. It is commonly called Haldi-algusi or Swarnalata. In total, there are 67 species of hosts of C. reflexa under 54 different genera embracing 27 families. The host species include xerophytes (14 species), hydrophytes (1 species), mesophytes (50 species) and halophytes (2 species). Among the hosts recorded, the monocot:dicot ratio is 1:66. The new record regarding the highest percentage of parasitic attack (90%) is found with Excoecaria agallocha, followed by Acanthus ilicifolius (80%). These 2 hosts will be helpful in enriching our current knowledge in biology.