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Cuscuta pacifica

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About Goldenthread (Cuscuta pacifica) Cuscuta pacifica is a species of dodder. Its common name is goldenthread. The plant is native to the coast of western North America from British Columbia to Baja California,. It is a halophyte, living in coastal salt marsh habitats, such as the San Francisco Bay. Cuscuta pacifica is a slender annual vine with yellowish thread-like stems that wrap tightly around other plants. The leaves are reduced to tiny scales, and it possesses no roots because it is a parasitic plant, like all Cuscuta, and taps nutrients from host plants with its haustoria. The salt marsh dodder produces flowers with bell-shaped, white glandular corollas with five pointed triangular lobes. It tends to parasitize Salicornia, but also may be found on other species such as Jaumea carnosa and Grindelia stricta. Varieties: The species includes two Varieties: Cuscuta pacifica var. pacifica is significantly more common, occurring throughout the species range. Cuscuta pacifica var. papillata is a very rare endemic of sand-dune habitats in Mendocino County. Previous treatments included this species as two varieties of a more broadly defined Cuscuta salina, but they were recently recognized to be a distinct species with clear habitat and host affinities and reproductively isolated from Cuscuta salina var. salina.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Vine, Annual herb

Flower Color

Native Status

Natural Setting
Elevation ?
0' - 558'

Annual Precip. ?
9.4" - 65.7"

Summer Precip. ?
0.17" - 1.97"

Coldest Month ?
46.4° F - 56.3° F

Hottest Month ?
57.1° F - 72.4° F

Humidity ?
0.52 vpd - 18.37 vpd

Landscaping Information
Nursery Availability
Never or Almost Never Available

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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