Orobanche hederae Orobanchaceae Ivy Broomrape

Picture 1 Close up

Description - This plant is a parasite, so has no chlorophyll, and no green colour or leaves. The flower spike is up to 40cm, and individual flowers are pale yellow with faint purple lines. A bract beneath each flower is also purple, but as the flower ages the stamens and bracts turn brown. Stem are usually purple, and the host plant Ivy will be apparent nearby.

Habitat - Growing attached beneath the ground to Ivy, so found wherever the Ivy is, a multitude of habitat! Frequently found on walls, banks, in woodland etc.

Comments - Beneath the soil the Broomrape is attached to the Ivy roots and a swelling will be found at this point. This is what gives the plant the name "rape" as in "turnip", rather than the fact that it is "raping" the host plant by taking its nutrients. This is our commonest Broomrape, though confined to the south and west of England.

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