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Orobanche amethystea - Amethyst Broomrape

Amethyst Broomrape flowering in Italy

Taxonomy

Phylum: Tracheophyta

Class: Equisetopsida

Order: Lamiales

Family: Orobanchaceae

This robust member of the Broomrape family occurs throughout the southern Mediterranean region, Western Europe, and into parts of Central Europe. It has also been found in Southern Germany. The plant is mainly parasitic on Eryngium campestre (Field Eryngo), and the presence of its host is by far the easiest way of identifying this species. Broomrapes are notoriously difficult to identify accurately, an endeavour not helped by the fact that they can occur several metres away from the host with many plants growing in between them!

Left: Orobanche amethystea - one of 150 broomrape species that occur mainly in the Mediterranean region

Orobanche amethystea, along with its host, occurs mainly on short, alkaline grassland, but can be found in thickets in rough ground, too. The plant on this page was photographed in the Gargano Peninsula area of Italy in mid-April.


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