What is Dodder
Below is a transcription of the above sign found at the Valley of Fire Visitor Center.
Dodder – Cuscuta californica
Community: Creosote Bush Scrub
Habitat: Parasite on a variety of shrubs
Elevation: Below 4000 ft (1200 m)
Type of soil: Grows mainly on shrubs in well-drained soils
Source of Water: Host plant
Height: Twining threads tangled in host branches
Pollination: Wind, insects
Adaptation for Survival: Seeds of this perennial sprout in soil, but quickly send up fragile stems which attach to wood tissue of the shrub. Runners bore into the host and lose all connection with the soil, depending fully on the shrub for its needs, eventually killing the host.
Comments: Bright orange threads almost completely hide the host plant, make a distinctive splash of color in spring. Fully edible; very high in beta-carotene.