Sunday, June 30, 2013

Clustered Broomrape in Grasslands National Park

Clustered Broomrape. To everything a name, and to some, names odder than others. I've no idea how this parasitic grasslands plant got its name, but I do know that Clustered Broomrape — aka Orobanche fasciculata — has no chlorophyl and feeds off the roots of other prairie plants.

Small pink stalks and flowers - no green leaves. © SB

It draws nourishment from the pasture sage, its primary host, in the background of the photo below.

Clustered Broomrape with its host,
Pasture Sage. 
© SB

The tube-shaped, creamy purplish CBR flowers were just beginning to open the day we found it. ("We" = a soon-to-be park interpreter, with far better eyesight and plant knowledge than me.)

The wild prairie landscape of Saskatchewan offers amazing gifts to those lucky enough to see it.
Seen on the Prairie Passages tour of PFRA and other publicly owned grasslands, with conservationists, authors, and photographers, including Margaret Atwood, Graeme Gibson, Alberto Yanosky (Executive Director of BirdLife affiliate Guyra Paraguay), and Ian Davidson (Exec. Dir., Nature Canada). Organized by Public Pastures - Public Interest. For more on the tour, see Pasture Posts and Trevor Herriot's Grass Notes.

Prairie Wildflower: Clustered Broomrape (
Orobanche fasciculata,)
Location: Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Photo Date: June 25, 2013. 


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