Dodder is a plant that you don’t want to cultivate! Ellen Martin spotted this stringy vine strangling her bronze fennel, marjoram and tomatoes. It doesn’t have leaves, but it does have tiny white flowers.
Dodder’s a parasitic vine that gets its nourishment by stealing it from other plants. Dodder is an annual vine and is listed as a noxious weed on the official, federal list of noxious/invasive species. Seeds germinate in spring and the plants flower in late spring to summer.
Remove seedlings as they sprout and cut back any mature plants once you notice them. Do not let dodder flower or produce fruit. Since it’s an annual, you can use a pre-emergent herbicide, but that will also inhibit the seeds that you want to grow. Thankfully, with diligence, use of any product won’t be necessary at all, if you remove those seedlings before they have a chance to produce the next generation.