Thyme Broomrape on The Lizard

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It was good to find this plant last weekend on The Lizard even though it’s not a great beauty. In fact Thyme Broomrape is at its best around now (above left), before long it will have turned brown and dry, looking very dead as in the image above right taken last July, also near Lizard Point.

Insight into Thyme Broomrape or Red Broomrape (Orobanche alba): a native, its distribution is described as ‘very local’ as it’s found only in coastal areas of north west Scotand and south west England as well as inland in Yorkshire.

Having no chlorophyll of its own it’s parasitic like other members of the Broomrape family (Orobanchaceae). This species lives on the roots of Wild Thyme (Thymus polytrichus).

All the Broomrapes are described as either local, very local, rare or very rare except Common Broomrape (Orobanche minor) which is ‘frequent’ in England and Wales.

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