Also known as dodder, the plant is an orange vine that grows nearly one metre tall and produces tiny white flowers of five petals. The plant has no leaves and is not green, as it lacks chlorophyll and therefore cannot absorb nutrients through photosynthesis. Instead, Cuscuta attaches itself to a host plant and sucks out nutrients by burrowing an appendage into the plant’s vascular system. A Cuscuta seed germinates like any other plant seed but will grow and rotate in the direction of a nearby plant that can provide it with food. Research shows it ‘smells’ the plant and knows which way to grow to find food – even distinguishing between tomato plant and wheat.
Video of Cuscuta germinating and searching for prey:http://bit.ly/15qh6aW