Stems and leaves: Stout and unbranched to thick stems. Since C. americana does not photosynthesize it also does not have true leaves; it has instead simple, ovate, tiny scales long and brown, which appear underneath each flower.
Flowers: C. americana produces spikes of yellow to cream flowers densely crowded all around the stem. Each flower is 5-parted, to long, tubular with a swollen base and facing downwards. As the flowering spike matures and begins to wither and becomes brown throughout the summer and often persisting through the winter, by which time it has become shriveled and black. There is no noticeable floral scent.
Fruits and reproduction: Each flower is replaced by a seed capsule that is longer than it is wide and contains many small seeds. This plant spreads to new locations by reseeding itself.
Roots: The root system is parasitic on the roots of Oak trees (Quercus spp.); dependent on the host tree for its nourishment, the suckers of the parasitic roots cause the formation of large rounded knobs on the roots of the host tree.
Complete DNA sequences of the plastid genomes of two parasitic flowering plant species, Cuscuta reflexa and Cuscuta gronovii.(Research article)
Aug 22, 2007; Authors: Helena T Funk ; Sabine Berg ; Karin Krupinska ; Uwe G Maier ; Kirsten Krause (corresponding author)...