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Lindsay's Flora Blog - 8th June

Posted: Monday 8th June 2020 by trustadmin

Yarrow Broomrape Orobanche purpurea

In one of my earlier posts I talked about Greater Broomrape. Yarrow Broomrape is another plant in the same family, having no chlorophyll and therefore being totally dependent on a host plant - and unsurprisingly its host plant is Yarrow; however, Yarrow Broomrape is much rarer than its common and widespread host. Classed as Vulnerable by the IUCN and Nationally Rare in the UK it is relatively common here and visiting botanists are always excited to find it.

Whilst not as tall as Greater Broomrape, Yarrow Broomrape (or Purple Broomrape as it is also known) is possibly more striking as both the stems and the flowers are a deep bluish-purple. The flowers are large and covered in short white hairs which also cover the plant as a whole, and the lower lip has three lobes, with the central one being longer than the other two.

It is a native species, usually in flower here from late May to early July, and is appearing all over the place at the moment in grassy places where Yarrow is growing - a good place to see it is Braye Common where the States’ Agricultural team’s recent high cut has left plants such as these safe and sound below their machines’ blades.


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