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Orobanche uniflora

Orobanche uniflora L.

Aphyllon uniflorum (L.) Torr. & A. Gray

Orobanche porphyrantha G. Beck

Orobanche purpurea Jacq.

Orobanche sedii (Suksd.) Fech.

Orobanche terrae-novae Fernald

Orobanche uniflora L. ssp. occidentalis (Greene) Abrams ex Ferris

Orobanche uniflora L. var. minuta (Suksd.) G. Beck

Orobanche uniflora L. var. occidentalis (Greene) Roy L. Taylor & MacBryde

Orobanche uniflora L. var. purpurea (A. Heller) Achey

Orobanche uniflora L. var. sedii (Suksd.) Achey

Orobanche uniflora L. var. terrae-novae (Fernald) Munz

Orobanche uniflora L. var. typica Achey

Thalesia uniflora (L.) Britton

Naked Broomrape, One-flowered Cancer-root, Cancer-root

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderLamialesAromatic herbs and shrubs, including lavender, lilac, olive, jasmine, ash, teak, snapdragon, sesame, psyllium, garden sage, mint, basil, and rosemary
FamilyOrobanchaceaeBroomrape family of parasitic plants
GenusOrobancheFrom the Greek orobos, a kind of vetch, and anchone, “choke or strangle” because of a parasitic habit, this was the Greek name of a plant that was parasitic on vetch
SpeciesunifloraSingle-flowered

About plant names...

This North American native is parasitic, stealing its nutrients from nearby roots. ”Broom” may refer to the broomlike shape of the plant, while “rape” (from Latin rapum) refers to lumps that form on the roots. Orobanche translates roughly to “vetch-strangler,” while uniflora means “single-flower.”

Identification: These tiny plants, less than 2" (6 cm) high, are easily overlooked. For one thing, they don’t appear to have leaves. They don’t need them. Instead, they wrap around roots of other plants, taking nutrients directly from them. (There are some “vestigial” leaves, small brown scales along the stem.) Tiny hairy stalks emerge directly from the ground. Each stalk is topped with a single nodding 5-petaled flower, yellowish-white or purple, about 1" (2.5 cm) long.

Online References:

Orobanche uniflora at Illinois Wildflowers

Orobanche uniflora on CalPhotos

Orobanche uniflora on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site

Orobanche uniflora on Missouriplants.com

Orobanche uniflora at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Orobanche uniflora (Naked Broomrape, One-flowered Cancer-root, Cancer-root)

5/11/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Pepperell, MA
≈ 2½ × 3½" (6.5 × 9.2 cm)

Orobanche uniflora (Naked Broomrape, One-flowered Cancer-root, Cancer-root)

5/21/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm)

Orobanche uniflora (Naked Broomrape, One-flowered Cancer-root, Cancer-root)

5/11/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Pepperell, MA
≈ 2½ × 4" (7.2 × 10 cm)

Orobanche uniflora (Naked Broomrape, One-flowered Cancer-root, Cancer-root)

6/10/2016 · Monhegan Island, ME

Orobanche uniflora description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 17 Jun 2016.

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Orobanche uniflora (Naked Broomrape, One-flowered Cancer-root, Cancer-root)

6/10/2016 · Monhegan Island, ME

Orobanche uniflora (Naked Broomrape, One-flowered Cancer-root, Cancer-root)

5/15/1979 · VA · By Tim Chandler

Orobanche uniflora (Naked Broomrape, One-flowered Cancer-root, Cancer-root)

5/21/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, MA
≈ 4 × 5" (11 × 13 cm)

Orobanche uniflora (Naked Broomrape, One-flowered Cancer-root, Cancer-root)

6/10/2016 · Monhegan Island, ME

Orobanche uniflora (Naked Broomrape, One-flowered Cancer-root, Cancer-root)

5/11/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Pepperell, MA
≈ 3 × 4" (7.5 × 10 cm)

Orobanche uniflora (Naked Broomrape, One-flowered Cancer-root, Cancer-root)

6/5/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 6 × 6" (15 × 16 cm)

Orobanche uniflora (Naked Broomrape, One-flowered Cancer-root, Cancer-root)

6/5/2013 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 3½ × 4" (8.8 × 10 cm)

Range:

About this map...