Plants of
South Australia
Cassytha glabella f. dispar
Slender Dodder-laurel
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 10.


Cassytha from the Greek 'kasytas' or 'kadytas', a name for a parasite swhich bears a strong resemblance to this genus; thought to have been dodder (genus Cuscuta). Glabella from the Latin 'glaber' meaning smooth or hairless; referring to the plant being hairless.

Distribution and status

Found southern South Australia growing in heathland. Also found in Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Native. Common in South Australia. Uncommon in New South Wales. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Hairless parasitic perennial twiner with green, yellow or reddish stems. Leaves reduced to minute scales, triangular-ovate, to 0.4 mm long and 0.3 mm wide, yellow-green. Inflorescence in clusters of 1-10 small white flowers along the stems. Flowering between November and February. Fruits are narrow ovoid fleshy fruit to 11 mm long and 3.7 mm wide, sessile, green, yellowish or orange-red when fresh; ribbed with prominent longitudinal veins and with basal portion narrowed to a stalk clasped by the almost vertical bracts. Seeds are green-brown to dark brown narrow-ovoid woody seed. Seed embryo type is linear under-developed.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and April. Collecting mature fruits, those that are soft, green, yellowish or orange-red and have a hard woody seed inside. Place the fruits in a bucket of water and rub with your hands to remove the soft flesh. Remove any seeds that are floating. These will be empty seeds. Drain the water and keep only the hard seeds at the bottom. Place the seeds on paper towel and leave to dry. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place.