It all began when I bought a basil plant to add to my other herbs for cooking. Basil is always good to have in the kitchen and the leaves make a good combination with mozzarella cheese and sliced tomatoes for a Summer salad. I notied that our local store was selling fresh basil plants in large pots which was ideal for my needs. I bought my potted basil and it began to grow, so everything under control, or was it?
A few days later I noticed some fine white strands growing out of the plant and was pleased to see that it was independly growing roots and I could even grow more plants from my original, although I was not aware that basil was so self growing. At least that was what I thought, but these white fine threads were growing and growing and I was not sure where they were going.
The were twining all over my basil plant and hanging down, as if searching for somewhere to twine on. In the meanwhile I had removed some leaves for a salad, and so at least we were surviving. However, I had my doubts, and these strange growths were definitely not new roots for a new plant. What do you do? Today we have computer and online colleagues everywhere. I started an enquiry in Facebook and discovered that the answers to my questions were not the answers to my problems. There were suggestions that did not meet with my mystery growth.
In the meanwhile my basil was still being captured by this strange growth and then an expert noticed my dilemma in WordPress and gave me an answer. He said that this was most probably a parasitical growth known as dodder and was quite widespread in parts of the States. Once it discovered a suitable host, it grew to the extent that the original plant became a dodder, because the original plant was being absorbed by the dreaded dodder. I naturally had a look in Internet and the suspicion was confirmed. The mystery was solved.
There are various European forms of dodder, although I think I had the original imported from the Stats. In the meanwhile a couple of online colleagues informed me that they also had dodder in their garden and it was almost indestructible. What a Swiss basil plant, probably with origins in another country, perhaps Italy, was doing with dodder I do not know. I did not know where my local supermarket got their garden herbs, but somehow the dodder seeds were in the earth and happy to take over my basil.
In the meanwhile the dodder was growing at a fast pace and my original basil plant was being strangled by its threads. I then made my decision. After warnings about dodder taking over gardens and other plants by just spreading its threads and seeds (yes it was even flowering in the meanwhile), I removed my basil and threw it into the compost. I am sure it is now still growing somewhere and supporting the dreaded dodder, but not in my garden.
The mystery had been solved. It even twined around itself when it found nothing better.