Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Cuscuta reflexa



Cuscuta reflexa (dodder)


  • Last modified
  • 14 July 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Cuscuta reflexa
  • Preferred Common Name
  • dodder
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae

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Flowers of C. reflexa
CaptionFlowers of C. reflexa
Copyright©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
Flowers of C. reflexa
FlowersFlowers of C. reflexa©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
TitleC. reflexa smothering an unidentified shrub
Copyright©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
C. reflexa smothering an unidentified shrub©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. (1798)

Preferred Common Name

  • dodder

Other Scientific Names

  • Cuscuta elatior Choisy (1841)
  • Cuscuta hookeri Sweet (1826)
  • Cuscuta macrantha Don. (1837)
  • Cuscuta megalantha Steudel (1840)
  • Cuscuta verrucosa Sweet (1823)

International Common Names

  • French: cuscute; cuscute grosse

EPPO code

  • CVCRE (Cuscuta reflexa)

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Solanales
  •                         Family: Cuscutaceae
  •                             Genus: Cuscuta
  •                                 Species: Cuscuta reflexa


Top of page C. reflexa has a similar morphology to Cuscuta campestris but is more robust, with a vine 1-2 mm thick, yellow or reddish, sometimes greenish. The flowers are also much longer, up to 10 mm long, white or pinkish with 5 obtuse lobes, much shorter than the lobes, in loose clusters. The capsule is elongated, conical, with a pair of simple stigmas on a very short single style. The seeds are large, 3-3.5 mm long.


Top of page The distribution data provided on the map are incomplete, but C. reflexa is mainly confined to tropical Asia.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


AfghanistanWidespreadHolm et al., 1979
BangladeshWidespreadHolm et al., 1979
BhutanWidespreadParker, 1992
ChinaWidespreadParker and Riches, 1993
-YunnanPresentYuncker, 1932
IndiaWidespreadHolm et al., 1979
-AssamPresentBarua et al., 2003
-BiharPresentMishra and Prasad, 1988
-GujaratPresentBhatt et al., 2006
-HaryanaPresentAshok et al., 2007
-Madhya PradeshPresentRavi Upadhyay, 2004
-OdishaPresentPradhan et al., 2005
-SikkimPresentYuncker, 1932
-Uttar PradeshPresentRawat and Sachan, 1994
-UttarakhandPresentPaliwal and Beena, 2009
-West BengalPresentDebabrata Das, 2007
IndonesiaWidespreadYuncker, 1932; Holm et al., 1979
-JavaPresentYuncker, 1932
NepalPresentHolm et al., 1979
PakistanWidespreadHolm et al., 1979
Sri LankaPresentParker and Riches, 1993


MauritiusPresentHolm et al., 1979

Risk of Introduction

Top of page Cuscuta species are quarantine pests in many countries.

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page C. reflexa is a robust species occurring mainly on perennial tree and shrub hosts. Bhattarai et al. (1989) list 39 host species in 28 plant families in India.

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Citrus medica (citron)RutaceaeMain
Coffea arabica (arabica coffee)RubiaceaeMain
Litchi chinensis (lichi)SapindaceaeMain
Prunus persica (peach)RosaceaeMain
Ziziphus mauritiana (jujube)RhamnaceaeMain

Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Vegetative growing stage

Biology and Ecology

Top of page The biology of C. reflexa is largely comparable to that of Cuscuta campestris, but it is tropical in distribution, allowing it to behave as a typical perennial, persisting on its woody hosts for years. It has rather more chlorophyll than C. campestris giving it a greenish tinge, especially in young stages before it is attached to a host. It also differs in requiring short days for flowering.

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page Natural enemies of Cuscuta spp., including C. reflexa, are reviewed by CAB International (1987).


Top of page C. reflexa is less widespread than Cuscuta campestris, but is capable of serious crop damage where it does occur. It is classified as a 'principal' or 'serious' weed in Afghanistan, Nepal, India and Pakistan (Holm et al., 1979).

Uses List

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Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page C. reflexa is distinguished from Cuscuta campestris and many other species by having only a single style, and from other weedy species with this character by the style being shorter than the stigmas. Cuscuta monogyna, C. lupuliformis and C. japonica have styles longer than the stigmas, and also have smaller flowers less than 5 mm long (see Parker and Riches, 1993 for descriptions and key).

Cuscuta monogyna, with style and stigmas of about equal length, is a species of the Mediterranean and Middle East, eastwards to Afghanistan, which occurs mainly on woody shrub and tree hosts but also on some herbaceous plants. It is known to be troublesome in Iran, Pakistan, the former USSR, Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Israel and Cyprus, on fruit trees including citrus and olive, and on vegetables including onion (Parker and Riches, 1993).

C. lupuliformis, with style about twice as long as the stigmas, is a European species, also occurring in India, Afghanistan and Brazil, which mainly attacks only tree and shrub species (Parker and Riches, 1993).

C. japonica, with style distinctly longer than the stigmas, occurs in East Asia, and is locally important in China and Japan on both woody and herbaceous hosts including potato and aubergine, but not tomato (Parker and Riches, 1993).

Prevention and Control

Top of page See data sheet on Cuscuta campestris.


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Anita Rawat, Sarvesh Sachan, Sachan SN, 1994. Host range of Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. from Doon Valley. Indian Journal of Forestry, 17(1):73-77; 1 ref.

Ashok Yadav, Banga RS, Balyan RS, Malik RK, Punia SS, 2007. Evaluation of herbicides against dodder (Cuscuta reflexa) infesting the hedges of bougainvillea (Bougainvillaea purpurea) and cleridendron (Cleridendron splendena). Indian Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 77(7):462-463.

Barua IC, Rajkhowa DJ, Deka NC, Kandali R, 2003. Host range study of Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. in Assam. Indian Journal of Forestry, 26(4):414-417.

Bhatt DC, Patel PK, Dodia SK, 2006. Various hosts of two species of Cuscuta L. Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany, 30(1):170-171.

Bhattarai T, Bhandary H, Shrestha P, 1989. Host range of Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Plant Protection Quarterly, 4(2):78-80

CAB International, 1987. Digest: potential for biological control of Cuscuta spp. and Orobanche spp. Biocontrol News and Information, 8(3):193-199; 45 ref.

Debabrata Das, 2007. Host range diversity of Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. in South 24-Parganas District of West Bengal. Environment and Ecology, 25(1):106-108.

Holm LG, Pancho JV, Herberger JP, Plucknett DL, 1979. A geographical atlas of world weeds. New York, USA: John Wiley and Sons, 391 pp.

Mishra B, Prasad SM, 1988. Natural hosts of Cuscuta reflexa. Indian Phytopathology, 41(1):154-155

Paliwal AK, Beena Kumari, 2009. "angiospermic dicots's" havoc by Cuscuta spp. of Bageshwar district in Kumaon of Uttarakhand. Advances in Plant Sciences, 22(2):573-574.

Pampi Ghosh, Debabrata Das, Manika Das, 2011. Phytodiversity of parasitic hosts of Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. in Cooch Behar district of West Bengal. Environment and Ecology, 29(2):588-591.

Parker C, 1992. Weeds of Bhutan. Weeds of Bhutan., vi + 236 pp.

Parker C, Riches CR, 1993. Parasitic weeds of the world: biology and control. Wallingford, UK; CAB International, xx + 332 pp.

Pradhan D, Panda PK, Sunita P, 2005. Hepatoprotective activity of Cuscuta reflexa extract on experimental liver damage in rats. Hamdard Medicus, 48(1):129-131.

Ravi Upadhyay, 2004. Parasitic angiosperms of District Sidhi, Madhya Pradesh. Flora and Fauna (Jhansi), 10(1):13-14.

Yuncker TG, 1932. The genus Cuscuta. Memoirs of the Torrey Botanical Club, 18:113-331.

Distribution Maps

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