Information on Common Broomrape

Common Name: Common Broomrape
Scientific Name: Orobanche minor
Irish Name: Múchóg bheag
Family Group: Orobanchaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


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Common Broomrape could sometimes be confused with:

Broomrape, Ivy, Broomrape, Thyme,

This is a strange annual plant which bears its flowers in upright spikes up to 30 cm high from June to September.  The two-lipped, tubular flowers (12-18mm long) are pinky-yellow with purple veins.  Because Broomrapes are parasitic plants, they mainly live off the roots of other plants.  Also they contain no chlorophyll so there is no green pigment, their leaves being replaced by pointed scales along the stems.  Common Broomrape tends to live mainly on the roots of Peaflowers and Composites.  This plant was introduced into Ireland by man and belongs to the family Orobancheae. 

I spotted this plant in Glasnevin, Co Dublin 2008 at which time I photographed it.  I wondered had it escaped from the National Botanic Gardens.

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Broomrape, Common
Broomrape, Common

Blanched as blood-drained flesh,
Broomrapes grow in deepest shade
Despising the sun.  Their leaves
Are scales, their racemes rise
From soil, like vampires' fingers,
The flowers shadowed, bruised
Like vampires' eyes
Hidden from sight, roots
Clamp round roots, such
From the flux of life.
No need to grow green:
Flourish, rather, on others' juices

Broomrape  :  Giles Watson   :   2005 *

* http://delta-intkey.com/angio/www/index.htm  follow link to Poems on Flowering Plants