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Japanese Dodder (Cuscuta japonica) Discovered in Lompoc



Japanese dodder has been found in the city of Lompoc, California.  A sample was confirmed by the California Department of Agriculture's Botany Lab as Cuscuta cf. japonica, also known as Japanese dodder.  This is the first detection of the weed in Santa Barbara County. 


Currently, in Santa Barbara County, the weed is known to occur only in Lompoc.  Japanese dodder could become a significant pest of agriculture, natural areas, parks and home gardens if it were to become established.  It is a high priority regulated pest ("A" rated noxious weed) for federal, state and local departments of agriculture.  The County Agricultural Commissioner's Office will be searching for additional infestations in the neighborhood and working on eradicating the infestation.  Local citizens are encouraged to report other infestations, to not disturb the current infestation and to not intentionally plant this serious pest.  Confirmed detections in Santa Barbara County are indicated in the map link below.


Japanese dodder cannot be controlled with herbicides, alone.  Be especially careful to avoid spreading this serious pest.  Japanese dodder can be spread by improper disposal of infested plant materials, by intentional plantings, by composting, or by birds or other animals who use the dodder for nesting material. 


Japanese dodder, Cuscuta japonica, is an aggressive non-native parasitic plant that has the ability to kill its host by robbing the host of food and water.  Japanese dodder is able to infect a broad range of plant types, including oak, willow, ivy, blackberry, plum, citrus, stone fruits, apple, laurel, clematis, fennel, coyote brush, and other woody and herbaceous plants, commercial crops, ornamentals, and wild plants.  Japanese dodder is able to spread plant diseases like tristeza, citrus greening and other phytoplasma organisms.


Japanese dodder looks like a tangled, yellow-to-orange mass of spaghetti on a host plant.  The spaghetti--sized stems differentiates the species from the thinner stems typical of native dodder species.  Japanese dodder may also appear more yellow-green in color, especially when stressed, than the orange color typical of native dodders. Healthy Japanese dodder, however, may also be orange.


Please report new infestations of this plant to the 

Agricultural Commissioner's Office, (805) 681-5600,


More information is available at


Click images to enlarge:




click to enlarge




Lompoc infestation:

photo by Matt Victoria

photo by Matt Victoria


photo by Matt Victoria















Additional search images:

Photo courtesy of CDFA

 Photo courtesy of CDFA














dc August 25, 2011