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Plants and parasites
While driving home from town, we noticed that some of the plants along the road were covered with what looked like yellow string. What is it?


This is a plant known as dodder. It is a member of the morning glory family. It seems to be a vine with no leaves, but the leaves are actually tiny, scale-like structures on the vine. It does not need the leaves very much because it gets most of its nutrients by parasitizing other plants. Once its seeds sprout, the seedling must attach itself to a host plant within a few days in order to survive. Once it attaches to a host plant, the dodder's roots die, and it gets its water and nutrients from the host.