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Love Vine Cassytha filiformis


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Love Vine - flower and stem
credit: Tau'olunga/CCSA

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Alternate name: Devil's-gut

Family: Lauraceae, Laurel view all from this family

Description This subtropical parasitic vine forms dense mats of slender twining stems, pale green to yellow-green to orange, covering its host plants.
Habit: native perennial vine or herb; twining; stem parasite on woody and herbaceous plants.
Height: twining, climbing vine.
Leaf: tiny inconspicuous scales, alternate, less than 1/16 in (1 mm) long.
Flower: very small white cup, globular, in short cluster at tip of stem, 0.5-0.75 in (1-2 cm) long.
Fruit: very small white berry, to 0.3 in (7 mm) diameter.

Flower May to July, or year-round, depending on location.

Habitat Coastal areas, to 65 ft (20 m): sandhills, scrubs, hammocks.

Range Native to tropical and sub-tropical areas worldwide: in North America, found in Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Hawaii.

Discussion This plant has many other common names including devil's gut, fine-stem lovevine, woevine, air creeper, green thread creeper, moss creeper, princess hair, dodder, giant dodder, dodder laurel, laurel dodder. Sometimes mistaken for Cuscuta spp., whose common name is also dodder.

Love vine grows on a wide variety of host plants, including citrus, mango, and avocado trees. However, it would be a mistake to regard this plant as nothing more than a parasite. It is used ceremonially and medicinally in traditional societies around the world; in Hawaii it is used for leis, roofing, and food.