TOOTHWORT

Lathraea squamaria

Broomrape Family [Orobanchaceae]

month8apr month8april month8may

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8cream flower8white
inner
inner8pink inner8mauve
morph
morph8zygo
petals
petalsZ2
type
typeZspiked
stem
stem8round

11th April 2007, Down House, Charles Darwin's home, Surrey. Photo: © Colin Martin
A  saprophytic plant lacking chlorophyll and growing in clumps parasitically, mainly on Hazel but otherwise on other shrubs or trees. Here possibly on an Ivy.


11th April 2007, Down House, Charles Darwin's home, Surrey. Photo: © Colin Martin
Much taller than Purple Toothwort - it has a tier of cowl-shaped flowers whereas that has but just a cowl appearing out of the ground. Has broad scales up the stem, here looking like wings but lacks leaves.


11th April 2007, Down House, Charles Darwin's home, Surrey. Photo: © Colin Martin
Flowers white to cream with pink/mauve inner tube-like petals.


11th April 2007, Down House, Charles Darwin's home, Surrey. Photo: © Colin Martin
Flowers have two lips. Top of spike of flowers stoops over slightly. All flowers facing one side of the spire.


11th April 2007, Down House, Charles Darwin's home, Surrey. Photo: © Colin Martin
Stamens protrude slightly.


14th April 2014, Edinburgh. Photo: © Ewan Cole
A pristine example. Usually many are in a sorry state.


14th April 2014, Edinburgh Photo: © Ewan Cole
Individual florets.


14th April 2014, Edinburgh Photo: © Ewan Cole
The summit termination


14th April 2014, Edinburgh Photo: © Ewan Cole
Parts of the flower are covered in long, white glandular hairs.


14th April 2014, Edinburgh Photo: © Ewan Cole
Now we can see why it is called 'tooth'wort.


Not to be semantically confused with : Toothed Medick [a plant with similar name belonging to a different Family]

Some similarities to : Common Broomrape and other Broomrapes which are also parasitic but those possess differently-shaped flowers.

Slight resemblance to : Yellow Bird's-nest but that stoops all the way over like an umbrella handle and is yellowish.

It is in the same genus as: Purple Toothwort (Lathraea clandestina) but that is purple and is far shorter and lacks a central stem from which flowers erupt.

The Toothworts lack chlorophyll so are completely unable to photosynthesize and must obtain their nutrients by parasitizing the roots of a host plant. The hosts of Toothwort itself are Hazel and Alder, but is sometimes found parasitic on Beech tree roots. It occupies shady places like hedges. Toothwort is also a  borderline carnivorous plant, meaning that it can physically trap insects but only might be capable of digesting them and absorbing the nutrients, or partially absorbing them. Obviously, the more ways it has at its disposal for obtaining nutrients the better, and maybe carnivory is just supplementary until it can parasitize a nearby plant for a more reliable supply of nutrients.


  Lathraea squamaria  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Orobanchaceae  

Distribution
 family8Broomrape family8Orobanchaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Lathraea
Lathraea
(Toothworts)

TOOTHWORT

Lathraea squamaria

Broomrape Family [Orobanchaceae]