Cuscuta approximata - Bab.
Small-seed Alfalfa Dodder
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Cuscuta approximata Bab. (TSN 30716)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.142801
Element Code: PDCUS01030
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Dodder Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Solanales Cuscutaceae Cuscuta
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Cuscuta approximata
Taxonomic Comments: As treated by Kartesz (1999), includes Cuscuta planiflora, sometimes considered a different species. Kartesz (1999) does not distinguish varieties of C. approximata (e.g., var. urceolata is included in synonymy).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Global Status Last Changed: 22Mar1994
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (22Mar1994)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States California (SNA), Colorado (SNA), Idaho (SNA), Montana (SNA), Nevada (SNA), New Mexico (SNA), North Dakota (SNA), Oregon (SNA), Utah (SNA), Washington (SNA), Wyoming (SNA)
Canada British Columbia (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CAexotic, COexotic, IDexotic, MTexotic, NDexotic, NMexotic, NVexotic, ORexotic, UTexotic, WAexotic, WYexotic
Canada BCexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: High/Low
Rounded I-Rank: Unknown
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Dodders can negatively affect individual host plants, sometimes killing them. Dodders are also widespread and difficult to eradicate.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Insignificant
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: High
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: High/Low
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: High
I-Rank Review Date: 26Feb2004
Evaluator: Fellows, M.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Northern Africa, Temperate and Tropical Asia, Central, Eastern, Southern and Southeastern Europe (GRIN 2001).

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: (WNPS 1997).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Insignificant

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: No negative ecosystem effects have been reported, a low or insignificant effect is inferred.

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Inferred - a vine that can be dense enough to smother the plant(s) it is climbing on (FLORIDATA 2004). Dodder can suppress or kill the host plants (Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board 2003).

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:Medium/Low significance
Comments: May spread phytoplasma ('yellows disease') (Swift 2003). Dodder can suppress or kill the host plants (Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board 2003).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Unknown

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: Generally found in disturbed areas (FLORIDATA 2004). Roadsides, ditches and fields (Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board 2003). Generally uncommon, but also on crops (Baldwin et al. 2004).

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: High

6. Current Range Size in Nation:High significance
Comments: Throughout western U.S. from Nebraska and North Dakota (not South Dakota) to California, Oregon and Washington (also exlcuding Arizona) (Kartesz 1999).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Kartesz (1999) lists Cuscuta approximata as "noxious" in 4 of the 12 states. Reported in the 1950's as having negative effects near Walla Walla, WA (Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board 2003).

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:Moderate significance
Comments: No more than 34 ecoregions - inferred from Kartesz (1999), TNC (2001), and (Baldwin et al. 2004).

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Low significance
Comments: Generally found in disturbed areas (FLORIDATA 2004). Roadsides, ditches and fields (Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board 2003). Generally uncommon, but also on crops (Baldwin et al. 2004).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: High/Low

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Medium significance/Insignificant
Comments: May only spread slowly if at all (WNPS 1997).

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Unknown

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Inadvertantly harvested and distributed with host plant, spread in hay, soil, water or animal manure (FLORIDATA 2004). Can travel by water (Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board 2003).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Quickly spreads once established (Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board 2003).

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: WNPS list B, wildland weed with low potential to spread (WNPS 1997).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:High/Low significance
Comments: Present in B.C., Canada (Kartesz 1999).

16. Reproductive Characteristics:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Cuscuta spp. may produce 1000's of seed/plant which contribute to a long-lived seed bank, broken stems readily reattach to new hosts (FLORIDATA 2004). Over 16,000 seeds/plant with seeds that can remain viable from 20 to 60 years (Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board 2003).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: High

17. General Management Difficulty:High significance
Comments: Not easy - remove and burn all stems to prevent reinvasion(FLORIDATA 2004).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:High significance
Comments: Inferred - long lived (~20+ years) seed bank.

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Moderate significance
Comments: Many rare Cuscuta spp. combined with the difficulty in determining which is a rare native vs. a common non-native could harm the rare natives(FLORIDATA 2004). Also, this species is a vine, and non-target damagae could occur to the plants that are serving as host.

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Unknown
Authors/Contributors
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Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Baldwin, B.G., S. Boyd, B.J. Ertter, D.J. Keil, R.W. Patterson, T.J. Rosatti and D.H. Wilken. 2004.
    Jepson Flora Project, Jepson Online Interchange for California Floristics. Regents of the University of California, Berkeley. Online. Available: http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/jepson_flora_project.html (Accessed 2004).

  • Floridata. 2004.10266 Rebel Circle, Tallahassee, Florida 32305. ONLINE www.floridata.com. Accessed, 2004.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Swift, C. J. 1996 (updated 2003). Cuscuta and Grammica species - Dodder A Plant Parasite. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension. ONLINE www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/TRA/dodder.html. Accessed 2004, February.

  • The Nature Conservancy. 2001. Map: TNC Ecoregions of the United States. Modification of Bailey Ecoregions. Online . Accessed May 2003.

  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. 2001. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN). [Online Database]. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland.URL: http://www.ars-grin.gov/var/apache/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?6438. (Accessed 2004)

  • Washington Native Plant Society (WNPS). 1997. Preliminary List of Exotic Pest Plants of Greatest Ecological Concern in Oregon and Washington. ONLINE. http://www.wnps.org/eppclist.html. Accessed 2004, January.

  • Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board. 2003. Written findings of the State Noxious Weed Control Board. Available at: http://www.nwcb.wa.gov/weed_info/contents.html. (Accessed 2004).

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