A stem of Common Broomrape flowers growing amongst other sand dune vegetation

A Parasitic Plant on the Dunes

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Common Broomrape (Orobanche minor var. maritima) is a very odd-looking plant. There were quite a number of them growing on the dunes at Swansea Bay and I nearly overlooked them, thinking that they were the decomposing stems of some kind of dead orchid. The whole plant lacks chlorophyll so it cannot manufacture food for itself and is entirely parasitic on the roots of either Sea Carrot or Sea Holly which occur frequently there.

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