Stems. - Yellow or reddish, thread-like, twining, leafless. Flowers. - White, in close clusters. Calyx. - Five-cleft. Corolla. - With five spreading lobes. Stamens. - Five. Pistil. - One, with two styles.
Late in the summer we are perhaps tempted deep into some thicket by the jasmine-scented heads of the button-bush or the fragrant spikes of the clethra, and note for the first time the tangled golden threads and close white flower-clusters of the dodder. If we try to trace to their source these twisted stems, which the Creoles know as "angels' hair," we discover that they are fastened to the bark of the shrub or plant about which they are twining by means of small suckers; but nowhere can we find any connection with the earth, all their nourishment being extracted from the plant to which they are adhering. Originally this curious herb sprang from the ground which succored it until it succeeded in attaching itself to some plant; having accomplished this it severed all connection with mother-earth by the withering away or snapping off of the stem below.
The flax-dodder, C. Epilinum, is a very injurious plant in European flax-fields. It has been sparingly introduced into this country with flax-seed.