Monday, June 15, 2015

Discovery of Clustered Broomrape...Unusual Plant

Observed (1st sighting for me) today an unusual plant on a sagebrush flat near Stevensville, MT. Orobanche fasciculata is a parasitic plant; it has no chlorophyll or photosynthetic ability. The roots of this plant envelop adjacent plant roots. By doing so it obtains all the water and nutrients needed to grow. Beyond this fact, little is known of the life histories of Broomrape. There are three other species of Orobanche in Montana that differ by color and structure. Most are parasitic mainly on Sagebrush (Artemsia) with Asteraceae, Rannunculaceae, Saxifragaceae and Crassulaceae also advantaged (Lesica 2012). It is a colorful plant about 3 inches in height. Noticeable due to clumped stems and "large" brownish flowers with yellow throats.
Clustered Broomrape (Orobanche fasciculata)