Common name: Desert Broomrape, Cooper's Broom Rape
Latin name: Orobanche cooperi
Height: 4-16 inches
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.
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.
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