What a plant smells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Cuscuta pentagona is not your normal plant. it is a spindly orange vine that can grow up to three feet high, produces tiny white flowers of five petals and is found all over North America. What is unique about Cuscuta [commonly known as dodder] is that it has no leaves. And it isn’t green, because it lacks chlorophyll, the pigment that absorbs solar energy, allowing plants to turn light into sugars and oxygen through photosynthesis. Cuscuta gets its food from its neighbors. It is a parasitic plant. In order to live, Cuscuta attaches itself to a host plant and sucks off the nutrients provided by the host by burrowing an appendage into the plant’s vascular system. What makes Cuscuta truly fascinating is that it has culinary preferences: it chooses which neighbors to attack.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-65
JournalScientific American
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'What a plant smells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this