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Cornish Red Data (2009)

The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.

Cuscuta epithymum - Common Dodder

Range & Status

Native; An Eurosiberian southern temperate species found mainly south of a line from Bristol to London on heathland, chalk downland and fixed dunes.

Regional Distribution

Locally common on coastal heaths, where Gorse Ulex spp. are abundant, particularly in West Penwith, The Lizard and along the north coast south and west of St. Agnes (SW65). It is also scattered between Trevose Head (SW87) and to the north of Bude (SS21) and along the south coast, east of Fowey (SX15). Rare in the Isles of Scilly where it is only known from one area of gorse on St. Martin' s (SV91).

Habitat & Ecology

A parasitic plant of both European Gorse Ulex europaeus and Western Gorse U. gallii on coastal heaths. It is rarely found on inland heaths and is not found on large, leggy U. europaeus plants. It also been found to parasitise Genista pilosa .


Dodder has largely disappeared from its former inland haunts in west and mid-Cornwall and has undergone a substantial decline in England through habitat loss. Its loss from inland Cornwall cannot be explained by habitat loss as, seemingly suitable habitat still exists; losses may be due to inappropriate fires.


Many coastal sites are managed by the National Trust.

Click here to see Aphotoflora images by David Fenwick


I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.

The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.