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Killer Alien Weed Invades Bay Area, Sucking Life Out Of Trees, Other Plants

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- An invasive, parasitic plant which grows lengthy vines and overwhelms native plants to the point of sucking the life out of them is invading the Bay Area, according to county officials.

The Japanese Dodder (Cuscuta japonica), which is not from Japan but rather Southeast Asia is classified as a noxious weed by agriculture officials and has been particularly damaging to oak trees in Alameda County.

Up close it looks like spaghetti noodles that are bright yellow-orange that can completely envelop the host plant.

"Once someone has it, for the most part it stays put, and we got to get it under control before it moves to other places," Alameda County Deputy Agricultural Commissioner Edmund Duarte said.

About a dozen oak trees in Oakland have been invaded by the dodder, and Alameda County's Department of Agriculture has been keeping an eye on them.

"It's kinda scary looking, isn't it? It can grow maybe six inches a day," Oakland resident Bara Scott said.

California's state funding for attacking the Japanese Dodder has been eliminated in budget cuts, and the county is looking for $50,000 to begin removing infected trees and bushes.

According to the The Alameda-Contra Costa Weed Management Area, eradication involves removal of the entire host plant or all infested portions of the plant if is is newly-infested.


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