Botanical Name: Cassytha filiformis
Common Names: Dodder laurel or Lorel dodder
Habitat:Native to Western Australia. As currently defined, Cassytha has a wide distribution for a genus of so few species. Most are native to Australia but a few are indigenous to Africa, southern Asia, various islands, and regions in the Americas. Some species seem to have been spread inadvertently by human agency and probably by birds as well, and now occur on several continents; C. filiformis, for example, grows in Hawaii (where it is said to be indigenous), the Australasian ecozone, northern South America, Central America, southern Florida, Japan, and South Africa. It also appears to have been transported to many major islands, and now is effectively pantropical.
Parasitic perennial, herb and climber. Fl. white-green-yellow, Jan to Dec. Found on Daviesia, Eucalyptus, Triodia. Coastal plains & dunes. 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.
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.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.