Dodder is a true obligate parasite: the host plant receives no benefit from the dodder and dodder must have a host plant to survive. Dodder appears leafless (it does have small scales) and lacks sufficient chlorophyll to produce any significant amount of its own food. It attaches to a host plant with small, root-like appendages called haustoria which allow it to extract carbohydrates, water, and nutrients. It is usually a golden color, but can also be tinged with red or purple.
''Cuscuta denticulata'', commnly known as desert dodder or small-toothed dodder, is a thin, yellow to orange, parasitic annual vine in the morning glory family , native to the deserts of the south-western United States and northern Mexico.