Desert Broomrape

Orobanche cooperi

Orobanche cooperi

Color: Purple

Common name: Desert Broomrape, Cooper's Broom Rape

Latin name: Orobanche cooperi

Family: OROBANCHACEAE

Height: 4-16 inches

Orobanche cooperi

Description: This plant arises from a thick root and a scaly, twisted stem base and produces a thick, clumpy stem. As a parasite taking its nutrients from a host plant, it lacks leaves and chlorophyll. It is dark purple in color and coated with glandular hairs. The inflorescence is an elongated array of several flowers. Each flower is tubular, purple and hairy, and up to about 3 cm long.

Range: Desert

Habitat: Sandy flats, washes, on Asteraceae — weed on tomatoes, Sonoran Desert, in 1960s.

Elevation: < 500 m.

Flowering time: Jan–May

Notes: Orobanche cooperi, a dicot, is a perennial herb (parasitic) that is native to California and is found only slightly beyond California borders. O. cooperi is also classified by the California Department of Food and Agriculture as a Noxious Weed List A: Control action required by state agencies. This plant is found growing attached to the roots of other plants, usually members of the Asteraceae, such as Artemisia, Hymenoclea, Ambrosia and Encelia. This photo was taken on April 6, 2010 in the Cadiz area of San Bernardino County, California.

We have an online wildflower field guide that is designed to help you identify desert wildflowers by color, scientific name, region and common name. The pictures are sized to work on the iPod, iPhone, iPad and similar devices. With your iPod or phone you will easily be able to identify wildflowers while in the desert. Links for downloads are on the bottom of the Wildflower Field Guide page.

Photo tips: Most digital point-and-shoot cameras have a macro function - usually symbolized by the icon of a little flower. When you turn on that function, you allow your camera to get closer to the subject, looking into a flower for example. Or getting up close and personal with a bug. More on desert photography.

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