Orobanche rapum-genistae   Greater Broomrape RR DDD N

Orobanche rapum-genistae bud Orobanche rapum-genistae flower Orobanche rapum-genistae floret

In many texts this is described as a pale yellow plant but the majority of the images on the Web show plants with a purplish colour like this one. It is a parasitic on shrubby leguminous plants like broom or gorse and this one was springing up from the roots of a gorse bush.

Being parasitic it doesn't need chlorophyll and so will grow in deep shade which poses two problems for the photographic botanist: the first is that it is so well camouflaged you can't find it and the second is that the light levels can make photography extremely difficult.

It was a very hot, bright day with temperatures in the 30 deg C region, the tar on the nearby road was bubbling and a swarm of honey bees had settled on the road very close to the plant I wanted to photograph. I looked at the ground around this particular gorse bush three times before I saw that the plant was actually there in profusion perfectly blending with the dappled light.

O. rapum-genistae is found here and there throughout England and Wales but becomes scarcer as you go north. There is a little in southern Scotland and eastern Ireland.

Near Newport, Isle of Wight 3rd June 2006

Added on 11th June 2006, updated 24th January 2011