Time of bloom: May to July.
Seed-time: June to September.
Range: Washington, California, and Nevada.
Habitat: Grain fields, meadows, and vineyards.
A troublesome and most disagreeable weed, viscidly glandular and unpleasant to touch, very bitter to the taste, and emitting a strong, fetid odor. Hay and grain among which it grows are damaged by contact with it, for the offensive smell of its sticky secretions is persistent and cattle reject not only the weed but also the hay that has been cured in touch with it.
Stem eight to fourteen inches tall, erect, rigid, branching from the base, often of a ruddy or a brownish hue, and covered with glandular hairs. Leaves alternate, once or twice pinnatifid, the
Fig. 227. - Common Dodder (Cuscuta Gro-novii). X 1/4 segments lance-shaped and again cut or toothed, sticky-hairy, the upper leaves and bracts often spinescent. Flowers blue, about an eighth of an inch broad, in dense, axillary clusters; corolla funnel-form, with five spreading lobes and five included stamens; the calyx has five spine-tipped, viscidly hairy lobes as long as the corolla tube. Capsule three-celled and three-valved with eight to twelve seeds in each cell. Seeds very small, and when wet are mucilaginous, which helps them to be carried about on farming tools and to adhere to the feet of animals. (Fig. 228.)
Put the land under cultivation with a hoed crop. In pastures, meadows, and waste places the plants should be closely and repeatedly cut during the growing season, entirely preventing seed development. Burn over rankly infested ground where the plants have matured, thus destroying the seeds on the surface. The seed is said to be short-lived, and if the plant is not allowed to reproduce itself it must soon be suppressed.