Lauraceae Parasitic Plant Connection

Lauraceae Juss. - Cassytha

Family Description

Distribution Map

Cassytha Distribution Map

List of Genera

Cassytha (called love-vine in the Bahamas) bears an uncanny resemblance to dodder (the genus Cuscuta) but is not related to it at all! Cassytha is in Lauraceae, the same family as Sassafras, avocado, and cinnamon whereas dodder is in Convolvulaceae and is related to morning-glory vines. If one looks closely at the flowers, love-vine is quite clearly a member of Lauraceae.


Cassytha capillaris
Cassytha ciliolata
Cassytha filiformis
Cassytha pubescens
Cassytha sp.


Although sometimes classified within its own family (Cassythaceae), this parasitic vine is universally recognized as monophyletic and residing within Lauraceae.  This position within is supported by floral morphology and molecular data. Its superficial resemblance to Cuscuta is remarkable and an excellent example of convergent evolution. The molecular phylogenetic study by Rohwer and Rudolph (2005) showed Cassytha to be nested among woody Lauraceae as the sister group to a clade including all genera except Hypodaphnis and the Cryptocarya group. Li et al. (2016, Taxon 65:433-443) using RPB2, LEAFY and ITS showed C. filiformis to be sister to Neocinnamomum, Cinnamomum, Machilus, Phoebe, etc. To there appears to be no molecular phylogenetic study of Cassytha species.

References to Cassytha


Last updated: 15-Nov-20 / dln