This is one of the scented broomrapes, and we have found it in Crete, Italy and Portugal - so far! To begin with I thought it was Orobanche caryophyllacea (Clove-scented Broomrape), but this does not (according to C.A.J. Kreutz's excellent book on the subject, 'Orobanche - The European broomrape species') occur in Crete. As the broomrape in question definitely smelt of something sweet and flowery, I can only conclude that it is, in fact, Carnation-scented Broomrape - Orobanche crenata - which is also sometimes called Bean Broomrape because it is mainly parasitic on Fabaceae species.
Orobanche crenata grows in a number of other European countries including Spain, France, Turkey and Greece. In Spain this broomrape is a particular problem due to its heavy infestation of Lens culinaris, a lentil crop grown along the Northern coast and in the border areas. It seems likely that it is introduced in the seed used to cultivate the arable fields.
The flowers of Orobanche crenata are nearly always white and have purple veins.
The flowering time of Orobanche crenata is from mid-April until the end of July.
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