Bermuda Post

Friday, Sep 18, 2020

Parasitic dodder plant recently found again in Bermuda is a threat to native plant species

Parasitic dodder plant recently found again in Bermuda is a threat to native plant species

On July 31st, 2020, a former Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) employee was gifted a basil plant, which had been purchased at a local plant nursery.
Accompanying the yellowing basil plant was a healthy, vigorously growing dodder plant – which is native to North America and Canada, but widespread throughout the temperate and tropical regions of the world.

Dodder plants are an invasive species of the morning glory family that have slender, yellow-orange stems that envelop affected host plants in a spreading, tangled, spaghetti-like mass.

Dodder’s thin, thread-like, yellow or orange stems grow rapidly, entwining and covering their host plants. From May through July, dodder produces white, pink, or yellowish flowers.

The first recorded instance of dodder in Bermuda was in 1974 and there have been sporadic recorded cases since.

Senior Plant Protection Officer Terry Lynn Thompson highlighted the ongoing efforts to detect and eradicate dodder. “DENR personnel have visited all of the local plant nurseries to inspect their plants for the presence of dodder. The inspections did not reveal any additional plants infested with dodder. We believe the source of the incoming dodder to be packaged seeds of herbs/flowers contaminated with viable dodder seeds. Early detection of dodder is important in its control. To date, efforts to eradicate this invasive plant have been successful, to the extent that dodder has not established itself in Bermuda.”

Persons who have purchased herb seedlings from any local plant nursery over the past month are encouraged to check them for dodder.

If you find this invasive, parasitic weed, please call the Department of Environment and Natural Resources at 239-2322 or e-mail plants@gov.bm for definitive identification and further instructions on its removal.
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