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Cassytha filiformis

Family

Lauraceae

Botanical Name

Cassytha filiformis L.

Linnaeus, C. von (1753) Species Plantarum 1: 35. Type: India, Illustration Rheede, Hort. Ind. Malabar. 7, t. 44 (1688). Fide J. Z. Weber, J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 3: 229 (1981).

Synonyms

Cassytha cuscutiformis F. Muell. ex Meisn., Prodromus 15: 255(1864), Type: ?. Cassytha filiformis var. pseudopubescens Domin, Biblioth. Bot. 89: 680(1930), Type: Queeensland, Emu Park, Dec. 1909, Domin 4200. Lecto: PR 526768. Iso: BRI. Fide Weber (1981). Cassytha filiformis f. pycnantha Domin, Biblioth. Bot. 89: 680(1930), Type: Not cited.

Common name

False Dodder; Love Vine; Vine, Love; Dodder, False; Dodder; Bush Dodder; Devil's Twine; Yugulu; Dodder, Bush; Dodder Laurel

Stem

A slender, multistemmed, parasitic vine not exceeding a stem diameter of 2 cm.

Leaves

Leaves small, scale-like, about 0.5-2 x 0.5-0.75 mm. Young shoots clothed in reddish hairs, older stems +/- glabrous. Twigs produce haustoria which penetrate the tissues of the host plant. Twigs about 0.8-1.1 mm diam., longitudinally striated.

Flowers

Inflorescence about 2-2.5 cm long. Flowers sessile, about 2.5 mm diam. Tepals arranged in two whorls of three. Outer tepals triangular, each about 1 mm long. Inner tepals about 2 mm long. Stamens in two whorls, the outer whorl of six and the inner whorl of three. Stamens about 1.5 mm long. Anthers about 0.5 mm long. Staminodes three. Two large glands present at the base of each stamen. Ovary green, about 1.5 mm long, ovule one.

Fruit

Fruits about 4-10 mm diam., perianth lobes persistent at the apex. Seeds about 3.5-6 mm diam., radicle central, about 2 mm long. Embryo oily.

Seedlings

Two cataphylls produced before the first true leaves. First true leaves very small, scale-like, about 1 mm long, lacking definite venation. Seedling glabrous, twining or meandering.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ and southwards as far as north-eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range in northern Australia from near sea level to 750 m. Often grows in open forest but also in beach forest, vine thicket, monsoon forest and rain forest. Pantropic being found on all the major continents and most tropical areas.

Natural History

Food plant for the larval stages of the Small Dusty Blue Butterfly. Common & Waterhouse (1981).

Vine produces cramps; fatal in quantity. Austin, D. F. 1998. Poisonous Plants of Southern Florida. (http://www.fau.edu/divdept/science/envsci/poison- pl.html)

This species may have medicinal properties. (http://squid2.laughingsquid.net/hosts/herbweb.com /herbage/A5387.htm)

Probably because of the vigorous hair-like growth, the plant has been used in India and South-East Asia in hair tonics. It contains small quantities of a poisonous alkaloid, large doses of which are fatal. It has a reputation as an abortifacient. Cribb (1981).

Stems produce numerous haustoria which extract nutrients from the host plant and perhaps other stems of the parasite.

WA

X

NT

X

CYP

X

NEQ

X

Slender Vine

X

RFK Code

2635