West Highland Flora

Thyme Broomrape


Orobanche alba

 

Orobanche alba

Photo Carl Farmer
23 Jul 2003 Hallaig, Raasay

Scarce parasite on Wild Thyme

Flower c 15-20 mm long

ID: The only Broomrape known from the area.  Flowers and stems purplish-red when fresh, soon turning brown and dry-looking, like a dead plant.  No green parts.  Has scales instead of leaves.  Flower tubular, upper lip shallowly notched, lower lip divided into 3 equal lobes.  Only similar plant in the area is Birdsnest Orchid which has lower lip divided into 2 widely-spreading lobes.

Other features: Calyx has one tooth on each side of the flower (visible in side-on flower in LH pic, long red tooth from lowest visible part of calyx).  In many Broomrapes the calyx lobe on each side of the flower is divided into two or more teeth.

 

Orobanche alba

Photo Carl Farmer
7 Jul 2004 Uig, Skye
Height of plant c 13 cm
  Orobanche alba

Photo Carl Farmer
7 Jul 2004 Uig, Skye

  Orobanche alba and Thymus polytrichus

Photo Carl Farmer
7 Jul 2004 Uig, Skye

Stem and flower close-up of old brown plant, and some younger red spikes among Thyme, on an inaccessible ledge, from a distance.


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