Every Summer I buy a basil plant at the local store. Our climate in Switzerland is too cold in Winter for them. This year they had them in larger pots and it was looking quite healthy. I noticed that something white was growing out of the stalk, but was sure it was a new root reaching for the earth.
How wrong can you be? This white feeler soon developed into a maze of furls and curls and began to take over my basil. I was still mistified, I had never seen anything like it. I even noticed it had developed small flowers of its own, at least I though they were flowers.
Thanks to communication with another writer, I discovered that this arrival was a dodder and their main intention was to sit on a host plant and absorb everything that it had to offer. The ultimate result was that it would take over and kill the victim, in my case the basil. Would the dodder then die itself? – no chance. It wanders further and searches for a new unsuspecting plant.
I had never heard of dodder, although there are species in Europe it seems. Most of our plants originate in Dutch nurseries, although I do not know where the store gets their basil. Eventually I decided to throw the complete plant, basil and dodder, into the garbage. Perhaps it found a new host somewhere on a garbage dump.