Description: Mainly annual parasites with twining yellow, brown or reddish stems with haustoria.
Leaves reduced to small scales, glabrous.
Flowers 5- or rarely 3- or 4-merous, axillary, in cymose clusters, bracteate. Sepals united at the base [or free]. Corolla tubular or campanulate, distinctly lobed, lacking a mid-petaline band, glabrous. Stamens inserted at the throat between the corolla lobes, subtended by fimbriate scales. Ovary 2-locular with 2 ovules per loculus, glabrous; styles 2, free [or united] with capitate or linear stigmas.
Capsule subglobose or ovoid, circumsciss or indehiscent.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 170 species, cosmopolitan. Australia: 10 species (4 species endemic, 6 species naturalized), all States.
Text by R. W. Johnson
| ||Key to the species|| |
|Stigmas linear||Cuscuta epithymum|
|2||Flowers in dense globose clusters, pedicels mainly less than 2.5 mm long||3|
|Flowers in loose few-flowered clusters, pedicels 3–6 mm long|
Back to 1
|3||Styles more or less absent; corolla mainly 3- or 4-lobed||Cuscuta victoriana|
|Styles c. 1 mm long; corolla 5-lobed|
Back to 2
|4||Corolla lobes obtuse; scales subtending stamens shorter than the corolla tube, with few fimbriae||Cuscuta australis|
|Corolla lobes acute, often inflexed; scales subtending stamens longer than the corolla tube, much fimbriate|
Back to 3
|5||Calyx as long as corolla tube, corolla lobes obtuse as long as or longer than the tube||Cuscuta tasmanica|
|Calyx shorter than the corolla tube, corolla lobes acute shorter than the tube|
Back to 2