Leafless brownish root-parasites. Rootstock often tuberous, naked or scaly. Stem stout, solitary, scaly, not often branched. Flowers in more or less dense spikes or racemes. Sepals 4 or 5. Corolla 2-lipped. Stamens 4. Ovary 1-celled. Seeds numerous, minute. A widely distributed family, chiefly in Southern Europe.

Orobanche L. Broom-Rape

Characters of the family. None are truly Alpine, though several, and particularly 0. epithymum DC. (0. rubra Sm.), are found in the sub-Alps. That species has been seen by the author as high as 6600 feet in Savoy and in Switzerland, where it is parasitical upon Thyme, as in parts of England. The following species of Broom-rape, with the host-plant upon the roots of which they grow, have been recorded from Switzerland by A. W. Bennett, Keller and Schinz, etc.:

O. Minor Smith

O. Minor Smith, on various plants, very commonly on Purple Clover. Style violet.

O. Loricata Rchb

O. Loricata Rchb, on Artemisia campestris. Style yellow.

O. Picridis Schultz

O. Picridis Schultz, on Picris hieracioides. Plant very pale.

O. Scabioscb Koch

O. Scabioscb Koch, on Scabiosa Columbaria and on spp. of Carduus and Cirsium. Corolla yellow and violet.

O. Epithymum Dc

O. Epithymum Dc (O. rubra Sm., O. alba Stephan), on Thyme.

O. Teucrii Holan

O. Teucrii Holan, on Teucrium and Thymus. Spike short.

O. Caryophyllacea Sm

O. Caryophyllacea Sm, on Galium. Plant yellow, scented.

O. Flava Mart

O. Flava Mart (O. Frolichii Rchb.), on Adenostyles, Petasites offic. albus and niveus, and Aconitum Lycoctonum.

O. Hederce Duby

O. Hederce Duby, on Ivy. Spike elongated.

O. Salvia Schultz

O. Salvia Schultz, on Salvia glutinosa. Corolla yellow.

O. Lucorum A.Br

O. Lucorum A.Br, on Berberis and Rubus caesius. Corolla brownish yellow.

O. Laserpitii Sileris Reuter

O. Laserpitii Sileris Reuter, on Laserpitium Siler. Stem swollen at base into a large ball. Corolla brownish yellow, streaked with violet.

O. Elatior Sutton (O. Major L)

O. Elatior Sutton (O. Major L), on Centaurea scabiosa. Plant yellow. Corolla reddish brown.

O. Cervariae Suard. (O. Alsatica Kirchl)

O. Cervariae Suard. (O. Alsatica Kirchl), on Peucedanum Cervaria and Seseli Libanotis. Corolla fawn-coloured, tinted with violet. Sepals distinct.

O. Rubens Wallr. (O. Gracilis Sm)

O. Rubens Wallr. (O. Gracilis Sm), on Lotus, Hippocrepis, Genista, etc. Corolla reddish brown. Sepals 2-3 cleft.

O. Rapum Genistae Thuill

O. Rapum Genistae Thuill, on Broom and other Leguminosae. Tall, coarse, with large brown flowers.

O. Cruenta Bert

O. Cruenta Bert, on Medicago sativa and Melilotus. Yellow.

O. Purpurea Jacq. (O. Coerulea VILL)

O. Purpurea Jacq. (O. Coerulea VILL), on Yarrow. Whole plant purplish.

O. Iaevis L. (O. Arenaria Berk)

O. Iaevis L. (O. Arenaria Berk), on Artemisia campestris. Bluish. Anthers hairy (smooth in purpurea).

O. Ramosa L

O. Ramosa L, on hemp and tobacco. Stem branched.

Lathraea L. Lathrcea Squamaria L



Laihraa is closely allied to Orobanche, but the calyx has 4 broad, short teeth. Plant fleshy, yellowish white or pale purple.


Raceme, unilateral, drooping.


Rootstock fleshy, and creeping, covered with short, thick, fleshy scales. Parasitical upon roots of Hazel, Poplar, and Alder, and rarely upon Vines and Apple trees.


Europe, Central and Russian Asia except the extreme N. British.