Earlier this year I wrote about Purple Broomrape, Orobanche purpurea. Last month, while walking on the south coast of the Isle of Wight, I encountered its relative Orobanche hederae, the Ivy Broomrape for the first time.
Ivy Broomrape has been recorded in a couple of 10km squares in Norfolk, but it is more commonly found further south in England, where its host, Ivy (Hedera helix, particularly subspecies hibernica) grows. Orobanche hederae grows on the roots of Ivy and is a holo-parasite, utterly dependent on its host for food.
I found my plants on the cliffs where Ivy was growing: it is also found in rocky woods, hedge banks and quarries where its host is present.
Ivy Broomrape’s flowers are dull cream with a tinge of reddish purple towards the end. The plant flowers from May to July. There are some good photographs of the plant on the UK Wildflowers, English Wild Flowers: A Seasonal Guide and Nature Spot websites.