Dodder, or Cuscuta, L. a genus of plants, of which two species are natives :
1. The Europcea, or Greater Dodder, a very pernicious weed, that chiefly attaches itself to clover, hops, flax, nettles, and willows, and flowers in July or August. Its leaves are scarcely visible, and it ought to be timely extirpated, before the seeds become ripe. - The whole of this plant is bitter, and is eaten by cows, sheep, and hogs ; but goats do not relish it, and horses totally refuse it. - In dyeing, it affords a pale reddish colour,
2. The Epithymiim, or Lesser Dodder, which is common in corn-fields and heaths, but is found chiefly preying on thyme, whence it has received its name. It is in bloom from July to August. This plant is reputed to be aperient and cleansing, as well for curing the jaundice as cutaneous disorders, etc. In this country, however, it is seldom used, though, from its pungent aromatic taste, it may with advantage be substituted for many drugs that are now imported.
Both these species are plants of a most singular nature, being almost destitute of leaves, parasitical, creeping, and fixing themselves to whatever is next to them. They decay at the root, and are afterwards nourished by the plants which support them. As soon as the shoots have twined about an adjacent plant, they put forth from their inner surface several vesicles, or papillae, which attach themselves to the rind or bark of the plant. By degrees, the longitudinal ves-sels of the stalk, which appear to have accompanied the vesicles, shoot from their extremities, and penetrate the softer plant, by dividing the vessels, and insinuating themselves into the tenderest parts of the stalk; and so intimately are they united with it, that it is much easier to break, than to disengage them.