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     The Orobanche genus was named by Linnaeus in 1753 from specimens collected in Europe. Linnaeus also named and described a Virginia specimen which he named Orobanche uniflora. When other North American Broomrape species were discovered they, too, were almost always placed in the genus Orobanche, but Asa Gray placed a new Broomrape species in the genus Aphyllon which had been described by Mitchell in 1769. Aphyllon uniflorum was the only broomrape included in Gray's Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States (1848).

Since Gray's time most botanists (including Nuttall and Rydberg) have retained Linnaeus' genus name, Orobanche, and almost all modern floras accept the name Orobanche.

In 2016 A.C. Schneider of the Jepson Herbarium and the University of California at Berkeley published research indicating that the New World Broomrapes that had been placed in the genus Orobanche, were in fact different from Old World Broomrapes Orobanche and that they properly should be placed in Aphyllon.  I have retained the genus name Orobanche until Schneider's research has been reviewed. Allred's 2020 second edition of Flora Neomexicana III accepts Aphyllon.

The two Broomrapes shown on this page are quite similar in appearance and habitat and they are both commonly parasitic on species of Artemisia. Several characteristics help separate the two species: O. fasciculata has stouter stems with more flowering pedicels (3-12) and the stems and pedicels are about equal in length. (Often half or more of the stem is below ground).  Pedicels (1-3) of O. uniflora are longer than the stems.  The calyx lobes of O. fasciculata are triangular and shorter than, or about equal to the tube; the calyx lobes of O. uniflora are awl-shaped with a long tip and the lobes are longer than the tube.

    Click for more information about Orobanche.

Aphyllon fasciculatum
Orobanche fasciculata. Synonym: Aphyllon fasciculatum. (Bundled Broomrape)
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Foothills, montane. Openings, shrublands, woodlands. Summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, June 11, 2008.

This is a common Orobanche, usually parasitic on Sagebrush but also on various Salt Bushes and other plants in Pinyon/Juniper forests.  It can grow to about six inches tall but is more typically only one-to-four inches tall.

O. fasciculata can be pink, purple, or yellow.  

This plant was first collected for science by Thomas Nuttall "in sandy alluvial soils, around Fort Mandan" [quotation from Intermountain Flora] in 1811 or 1812 and was named Orobanche fasciculata by Nuttall in his 1818 Genera of North American Plants.  Weber prefers the 1856 name of Aphyllon fasciculatum given by Torrey and Gray.

Aphyllon fasciculatum
Orobanche fasciculata. Synonym: Aphyllon fasciculatum.(Bundled Broomrape)
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Foothills, montane. Openings, shrublands, woodlands. Summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, June 11, 2008.

Aphyllon fasciculatum  Aphyllon fasciculatum
Orobanche fasciculata. Synonym: Aphyllon fasciculatum.(Bundled Broomrape)
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Foothills, montane. Openings, shrublands, woodlands. Summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, August 1, 2009.

A dead and dried Orobanche fasciculata shows how its root surrounds a root of its host, Artemisia nova

Note also that most of the stem (just below the shiny portion in the left photograph) was below ground and the total stem length about equals the pedicel length. There is considerable disagreement between botanists about the range of lengths of the stems and pedicles and there are even contradictions within individual botanist's descriptions but there does seem to be general agreement on two points: 1) stems are about the same length or a bit longer than pedicles, and 2) plants are short, typically no more than about 5 inches tall.

 

Aphyllon uniflorum
Orobanche uniflora.  Synonym:  Aphyllon uniflorum.  (Single-flower Broomrape)
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Foothills, montane. Openings, shrublands, woodlands. Summer.
Mesa de Cuba, New Mexico, June 1, 2010.

Most of the very short stem (.5-5 cm) of Orobanche uniflora lies below ground. The pedicels (the long portions of the plant supporting the flowers) are much longer ( 3-15 cm) than the stem. You can see this dramatic difference in the photograph at left. The long pedicels branch off the stems almost at ground level.

This species was named by Linnaeus in 1753 from specimens collected in Virginia.

Aphyllon uniflorum

Orobanche uniflora.  Synonym:  Aphyllon uniflorum.  (Single-flower Broomrape)
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Foothills, montane. Openings, shrublands, woodlands. Summer.
Mesa de Cuba, New Mexico, June 1, 2010.

Aphyllon uniflorum

Aphyllon uniflorum

Orobanche uniflora.  Synonym:  Aphyllon uniflorum.  (Single-flower Broomrape)
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Foothills, montane. Openings, shrublands, woodlands. Summer.
Mesa de Cuba, New Mexico, June 1, 2010.

Both species shown on this page are quite glandular-hairy.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for  Orobanche fasciculata

Aphyllon uniflorum

Range map for Orobanche uniflora