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Knapweed Broomrape

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An uncommon parasitic plant found mainly on the calcareous soils of southern England where greater knapweed is present.


Knapweed Broomrape: plain and simple

Post date: Tuesday, 12 July, 2016 - 20:58

No, I have not started photographing dead plants! This is a real, live specimen and yet there is no trace of any green on it at all. The broomrape family are parasitic plants and the knapweed broomrape (Orobanche elatior) is, naturally, parasitic on both species of knapweed, but mainly greater knapweed. Because it is a parasite deriving its nutrients from its host plant it has no need for chlorophyll and so it is not green, the colour chlorophyll would give it.

Knapweed broomrape is an uncommon plant found mainly on the calcareous soils of southern England and so can occasionally be found in Dorset on the chalk downs where there is, of course, knapweed! Whilst there are several species of broomrape none are encountered frequently and only four can be found in Dorset; common broomrape, ivy broomrape, carrot broomrape and this one so identification should not be difficult if you find one. 


The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Knapweed Broomrape
Scientific Name Orobanche elatior
Family Broomrape family - Orobanchaceae
Status Local
Interest Level
Species Family Broomrape Family - Orobanchaceae
Flower Colour Group Yellow
  • 06 - June
  • 07 - July
Preferred Environment
Look for Strong brown plant with no green at all but with a tinge of yellow on the flower petals
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

This species is often found in these habitats:

Habitat(s) Relationship
GC: Calcareous Grassland Associated