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Genus Cuscuta Family Convolvulaceae

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
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Stigmas capitate2
Stigmas linearCuscuta epithymum
2Flowers in dense globose clusters, pedicels mainly less than 2.5 mm long3
Flowers in loose few-flowered clusters, pedicels 3–6 mm long
                       Back to 1
3Styles more or less absent; corolla mainly 3- or 4-lobedCuscuta victoriana
Styles c. 1 mm long; corolla 5-lobed
                       Back to 2
4Corolla lobes obtuse; scales subtending stamens shorter than the corolla tube, with few fimbriaeCuscuta australis
Corolla lobes acute, often inflexed; scales subtending stamens longer than the corolla tube, much fimbriate
                       Back to 3
Cuscuta campestris
5Calyx as long as corolla tube, corolla lobes obtuse as long as or longer than the tubeCuscuta tasmanica
Calyx shorter than the corolla tube, corolla lobes acute shorter than the tube
                       Back to 2
Cuscuta suaveolens

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