If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title

About Me

My photo

I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

27 June, 2010

Carrot Broomrape (Orobanche maritima)

This is a curious plant, in fact the Broomrape family as a whole is quite curious.

Broomrape flowers are parasitic on various plants, this one on Wild Carrot, of course, but there are also Broomrapes that are parasitic on Yarrow, Ivy, Knapweed, Bedstraw, Thyme, Oxtongue and Thistle.

Because they are parasitic they have no chlorophyll as they do not need to use the sun to create growth, they get their nutrients from the host plant. As they have no chlorophyll they are not green like most other flowers and it easy to pass them by thinking that you are looking at a dead flower head rather than a real live flower.

All members of the Broomrape family are similar to look at with the differences between the species being quite limited. The Carrot Broomrape is quite uncommon, found only on the south coast of England, and the sea cliffs of Dorset is a good place to look for it among the Wild Carrot flowers.