Information on Ivy Broomrape

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


Click for list of all flowering by month
Ivy Broomrape could sometimes be confused with:

Broomrape, Common, Broomrape, Thyme,

Relatively uncommon, this wildflower, like all Broomrapes, is a parasitic plant, mainly living off the roots of other plants.  Also it contains no chlorophyll so there is no green pigment, the leaves being replaced by pointed leaf-like little scales which spiral up the stems.  Ivy Broomrape lives on the roots of Common Ivy. It is an upright plant with a slender purplish stem up to about 40cm high. The tubular flowers (10-20mm long) are cream with purple veins, and bloom from May to July.  This is a native plant belonging to the family Orobancheae.

I first saw this plant at Killiney, Co Dublin in 2008, growing on Ivy – a fact which helped the identification – and my husband photographed it for me, gallantly climbing over a fence to do so.  Interestingly enough, this plant was recorded between 1893-1902 by Nathaniel Colgan in his Flora of the County Dublin (1904) and one of the locations given at that time was a 'drift bank by the sea below Killiney Hill'.

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

Broomrape, Ivy
Broomrape, Ivy

It helps when trying to identify Broomrape if you look at the plants on which or with which it is growing.  The Broomrape attaches itself to the host plant by a lumpy node called a 'rape' – which is another word for a turnip.