A genus of over 200 species of parasitic herbaceous plants in the family Orobanchaceae, mostly native to the temperate Northern Hemisphere
Some species formerly included in this genus are now referred to the genus Conopholis. The broomrape plant is small, from 10–60 cm tall depending on species. It is best recognized by its yellow- to straw-coloured stems completely lacking chlorophyll, bearing yellow, white, or blue snapdragon-like flowers. The flower shoots are scaly, with a dense terminal spike of between ten and twenty flowers in most species, although single in O. uniflora. The leaves are merely triangular scales. The seeds are minute, tan-to-brown, and blacken with age. These plants generally flower from late winter to late spring. When they are not flowering, no part of the plants is visible above the surface of the soil.
As they have no chlorophyll, they are totally dependent on other plants for nutrients. Broomrape seeds remain dormant in the soil, often for many years, until stimulated to germinate by certain compounds produced by living plant roots. Broomrape seedlings put out a root-like growth, which attaches to the roots of nearby hosts. Once attached to a host, the broomrape robs its host of water and nutrients. The seeds can be invasive if not controlled.
This plant might be poisonous