Lindsay B. wrote today's entry:
Pictured here growing on an unknown host plant is Cuscuta chinensis, a twining parasitic herb native to much of Asia, Indonesia and Queensland, Australia. Commonly known as Chinese dodder, it is most often found growing on plants in the Fabaceae, Asteraceae, and Zygophyllaceae. The seeds of Cuscuta chinensis sprout in soil, however, the radicle quickly dies after germination. In the absence of foliage for photosynthesis, dodder becomes completely dependent on its host for nourishment, eventually killing its host. Common on dry, sandy slopes, Cuscuta chinensis has been identified as a contributor to accelerated desertification in areas of Nepal.
Cuscuta chinensis is considered an extremely useful and versatile herb in traditional Chinese medicine, belonging to the category of herbs that tonify/supplement the yang. The seed is used as a demulcent, diaphoretic, hepatic and tonic, while decoctions with other herbs are used in the treatment of impotence, vertigo, lumbago, leucorrhoea and decreased eyesight.