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Dodder laurel


Introduction of Dodder laurel


            Scientific name - Dodder laurel


Dodder laurel, bionomically known as Cassythafiliformis belongs to the Lauraceae family. This tree is one of its kind as it is a leaf less climber that is parasitic in nature. Physically this plant lacks the vital elements of every normal sighted plant. Main elements such as barks, leaves, and roots are missing from this climber plant. Being a climber it forms a dense mat life structure on top of other plants and survives on them, thus making it a parasitic plant. The stems of the plant that forms the mesh are generally green in color not the usual bight green but more on the pale and light shade. These mesh like stems grow for about a millimeter thick and cover the other plant. During a certain period of the year the plant changes its color from light green to s bright orange, marking a change of the season.
The fruit of this tree is an oval shaped one that camouflages between the stem of the climber when it turns ripe. They ripen during the early days of dry season and become quite an attraction for many birds like Honeyeaters, Mistletoe birds and Silvereyes to feed on.
Dodder laurel can be found across the tropical regions comprising of America, Indomalaya, Australasia, Polynesia and East Africa. This plant also gets the name love vine because of its aphrodisiac property.
The leaves of this plant are distinctive and are not full-fledged leaves themselves. They are more like thin scales about 1mm long. The flowers are more like spikes borne in solitary confinement. Each flower has about 6 petals each 0.1 -2.0 mm long. These flowers then become fruits of 7mm in diameter.


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Nutritional Value of Dodder laurel


Total Fat -1g 2%
Saturated Fat -1g 5%
Cholesterol -1mg 0%
Sodium -1mg 0%
Total Carb 13.1g 4%
Dietary Fiber -1g 4%
Sugars -1g 0 mg
Protein -1g 2%
Vitamin C 2%
Vitamin A -0% Vitamin C 8%


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Habitation and Methods of Vegetation


This plant has a pan tropical presence and mostly found in coastal areas, owing to its area of habitat these climbers are highly salt tolerant. The only requirement that marks its existence is a healthy host plant that they can draw nutrition from for their survival. These plants are sometimes also planted in order to encourage soil stabilization. Strong winds can erode soil from the grounds causing a mayhem this can be controlled by the use of dodder laurel as they help in holding the soil together.
This plant may not be the ideal choice for an ornamental plant or for a gardening enthusiast as it may become quite troublesome causing parasitic attacks on other plants. It is important to make a wise decision as to where do one want to plant them.
One of the largest species of dodder laurel is Cassythamelantha, it presence can be felt in the following southern Australian States of WA, SA, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. This species is more specific of its host and only grows on eucalyptus. This species when compared to others is more specific.
They are propagated by the help of birds that are attracted by its green luscious berries that make a fine feed for them. The dispersal of seed takes places with the help of these birds and only those seeds that are thrown at the base of smooth barked eucalyptus tends to survive as it starts to twirl around the branches of the healthy eucalyptus. The other seeds that don't find a host for them tend to die without undergoing the process of germination.
The seeds dispersed under the eucalyptus plant begins to suck the nutrition out of the host plant and gradually climb on the plant to form a mesh like structure. They are parasitic in nature and hence depend on the host plant for everything starting from a place for survival, food, nutrition, shelter and most importantly support. Climbers of these nature that grow off the ground tend to die at an earlier stage when compared to the ones that are feeding on a healthy host.


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Health Benefits of Dodder laurel


Dodder laurel has been known for its medicinal properties and is also incorporated as a key ingredient in preparation of many traditional medicines. Dodder laurel is used as an astringent and is also known for its diuretic properties. It helps in smoother digestions and fastens the metabolic system in the body. This tree is used to treat malaria, urinary system problems, diarrhea and many other ailments. Itchy skin, ulcers and parasitic conditions both on skin and scalp can be used by the consumption or application of dodder laurel.
Apart from the medicinal properties, this plant is also used for making paper.
Thus this plant comes in handy not just for its berries but also for its other properties that can be termed as life saving.

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