by Stephen Mifsud
   25 Jul 2024      ()
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Cuscuta epithymum   (Dodder)

Cuscuta epithymum  (CONVOLVULACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Dec-2007 (taxon update: Aug-2021)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Cuscuta epithymum - datasheet created on Dec-2007. Retrieved from on 25-Jul-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Cuscuta epithymum(L.) L.
Published in Syst. Veg. ed. 13, 140 (1774)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Cuscuta europaea var. epithymum L.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Convolvulaceae Juss. (The BindWeed Family)
24 species from the Convolvulaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Dodder, Clover Dodder, Thyme Dodder

Maltese name(s) :


Status for Malta :

Indigenous. Present on the Maltese islands before man

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: THEROPHYTE ( annual plants, herbaceous )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

January – May

Colour of Flowers:

Pink or White


Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :


Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Parasite mainly on small shrubs
Preferred habitat in Malta: Parasitising various plants mainly Asphodel and various shrubs in low-garigue and steppe, such as Anthyllis hermanniae, Thymus capitatus and Euphorbia spp.
Botanical Description: Stems slender, much-branched, often reddish or purplish; flowers (2.5-)3-4(-5) mm, 5-merous, mostly sessile, sometimes shortly pedicellate; glomerules 5-10 mm in diameter, dense, globose, each with a subacute bract at its base. Calyx usually shorter than corolla-tube, sometimes about as long; lobes triangular, acute, sometimes lanceolate and acuminate; corolla-lobes patent triangular, acute, rarely acuminate, mostly shorter than the campanulate tube. Stamens exserted; anthers often purple-tinged. Scales spathulate, shorter than tube, fimbriate, connivent over the ovary. Styles (including stigmas) about as long as to much longer than the subglobose ovary, exserted. Capsule enveloped by the corolla. Seeds c. 1 mm.
Chromosome number: 2n=14
Distributional range: Almost throughout Europe, except the extreme north

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
All Europe except the Azores, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Svalbard archipelago
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
Ab(A N) AE(G) Ag Al Ar Au(A L) Be(B L) Bl(M N) Br Bu By Ca Co Cr Cs Ct Da Es Fe Ga(C F) Ge Gg(G) Gr Hb(E N) He Ho Hs(A S) Hu Ir It Li LS Lu Ma Md(M P) Mo No Po Rf(C CS E N NW S) ?Rf(K) Rm Sa Sg Si(M S) Sk Sl Su Tn Tu(A E) Uk(K U) [aBe(L) Es Ge dHb(E) La Lt]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (12 images)
   Cuscuta epithymum   -   Image Code: CUSEP-0.
   Cuscuta epithymum   -   Image Code: CUSEP-1.
   Cuscuta epithymum   -   Image Code: CUSEP-2.
   Cuscuta epithymum   -   Image Code: CUSEP-3.
   Cuscuta epithymum   -   Image Code: CUSEP-4.
   Cuscuta epithymum   -   Image Code: CUSEP-5.
   Cuscuta epithymum   -   Image Code: CUSEP-6.
   Cuscuta epithymum   -   Image Code: CUSEP-7.
   Cuscuta epithymum   -   Image Code: CUSEP-8.
   Cuscuta epithymum   -   Image Code: CUSEP-9.
   Cuscuta epithymum   -   Image Code: CUSEP-10.
   Cuscuta epithymum   -   Image Code: CUSEP-11.

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