A parasitic plant with mostly 1-3 erect, slender, leafless yellowish-brown stalks rising from a short underground stem, each stalk topped by 1 white to whitish-lavender to purple, fragrant, bilaterally symmetrical flower with a yellow center.
This parasitic plant obtains its nourishment from the roots of various other plants, often stonecrops (Sedum). Its underground stem is quite short, usually 1-1 1/2 (2.5-4 cm) long. Clustered Broomrape (O. fasciculata), also known as Yellow Broomrape, has mostly 5-10 long, slender, 1-flowered stalks rising from a short, trunk-like stem usually 2-6 (5-15 cm) long; it occurs in the midwestern and Plains states. Louisiana Broomrape (O. ludoviciana), also found in the Midwest and on the plains, has flowers in dense, spike-like clusters. Both of these species are parasitic, especially on members of the aster family (Asteraceae). Lesser Broomrape (O. minor), with purple-tinged flowers in dense spikes, is parasitic mostly on the roots of clovers (Trifolium), of the pea family (Fabaceae); it was naturalized from Europe and now occurs from New York to Florida.
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