Information on Thyme Broomrape

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


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

Broomrape, Common, Broomrape, Ivy,

This fragrant, upright wildflower is usually found growing on roots of Wild Thyme from which it draws its nourishment.  Growing to about 25cm, it is a yellowish plant, somewhat tinged with purple, which carries reddish flowers (15-20mm long) in slender, short spikes.  It contains no chlorophyll so there is no green pigment.  The leaves are really brownish scales and in fact not true leaves.  It flowers from May to August in habitat where Wild Thyme grows such as dry, grassy, sandy places, is a native plant and belongs to the family Orobanchaceae.  

My first recording of this plant was in 1979, at Ballyvaughan in the Burren.  I photographed it, also in the Burren, at Bishop's Quarter, in 2003. 

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

Broomrape, Thyme
Broomrape, Thyme

Broomrapes are difficult plants to identify and the host plant often gives a good hint of which one it might be.