THYME BROOMRAPE

Orobanche alba

Broomrape Family [Orobanchaceae]

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8bicolour
 
flower
flower8mauve
 
inner
inner8yellow
 
morph
morph8zygo
 
petals
petalsZ2
 
type
typeZspiked
 
stem
stem8round
 
smell
smell8scent smell8scented smell8scent smell8fragrant smell8perfume
scent

Harris, Outer Hebrides, Scotland. Photo: © Phil And Ann Farrer


mid May 2015, Deal, Kent. Photo: © Barney Case
Unlike Common Broomrape Thyme Broomrape has bracts on the main stem that are shorter than the length of the flowers.


18th Aug 2010, Crooker Moher, The Burren, Eire. Photo: © Paula O'Meara
Purple-mauve hairy stems bear several 'euphonium-like' openings, being the flowers, which have two lips, an upper and a lower. The lower lip usually has three lobes. The flower openings can be tinged yellowish, or rarely whitish (hence the misnomer alba in the specific epithet - second part of the scientific name).


mid May 2015, Deal, Kent. Photo: © Barney Case
It has three frilly lower lips, and a cowl over a heart-shaped dark-coloured short dangly thing. Like most Broomrapes it is covered in short hairs.


mid May 2015, Deal, Kent. Photo: © Barney Case
seen from the side the cowl hides two parts of the flower, including an inner structure partly hidden by the dark heart-shaped structure. Each flower also has a dark bract just underneath with three teeth.


Possible confusion with: Common Broomrape which may also have red/purple stems, but that is over twice as tall, at 60cm.

Some similarities to : Lousewort which also has reddish/pinkish 'euphonium-like' openings, but is much shorter. Lousewort is only hemi-parasitic, and not fully  parasitic as are the Broomrapes.

No relation to : Broom [a plant with similar name].

All Broomrapes are  Parasitic Plants, lacking chlorophyll to synthesize their own products and instead taking their nutrients from the roots of a host plant. In the case of Thyme Broomrape, this is mainly with Wild Thyme. It occurs near the coast.

Thyme Broomrape is a short 25cm with purple/mauve stems; the only other Broomrape with this colour of stem is Common Broomrape but that has stem bracts that are longer than the length of the flowers.

No relation to : Broom (Cytisus scoparius) or Butcher's Broom (Ruscus aculeatus) [plants with similar name belonging to differing families].


  Orobanche alba  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Orobanchaceae  

Distribution
 family8Broomrape family8Orobanchaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Orobanche
Orobanche
(Broomrapes)

THYME BROOMRAPE

Orobanche alba

Broomrape Family [Orobanchaceae]

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