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     The Orobanche genus was named by Linnaeus in 1753 from specimens collected in Europe. Linnaeus also named and described a Virginia specimen which he named Orobanche uniflora. When other North American Broomrape species were discovered they, too, were almost always placed in the genus Orobanche, but Asa Gray placed a new Broomrape species in the genus Aphyllon which had been described by Mitchell in 1769. Aphyllon uniflorum was the only broomrape included in Gray's Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States (1848).

Since Gray's time most botanists (including Nuttall and Rydberg) have retained Linnaeus' genus name, Orobanche, and almost all modern floras accepted the name Orobanche until in 2016 Adam Schneider of the Jepson Herbarium and the University of California at Berkeley published research indicating that the New World Broomrapes that had been placed in the genus Orobanche, were in fact different from Old World Broomrapes and that they should be placed in Aphyllon. Allred's 2020 second edition of Flora Neomexicana III accepts Aphyllon as does John Kartesz's BONAP, the authority for plant names on this website.

The two Broomrapes shown on this page are quite similar in appearance and habitat and they are both commonly parasitic on species of Artemisia. Several characteristics help separate the two species:

Aphyllon fasciculata has stouter stems with more flowering pedicels (3-12) and the stems and pedicels are about equal in length. (Often half or more of the stem is below ground). 

Pedicels (1-3) of Aphyllon uniflora are longer than the stems. 

The calyx lobes of Aphyllon fasciculata are triangular and shorter than, or about equal to the tube; the calyx lobes of Aphyllon uniflora are awl-shaped with a long tip and the lobes are longer than the tube.

The genus name, Orobanche, is derived from the Greek "orobos" ("vetch") and "anchein" ("to strangle") referring to the habit of some Orobanche of being parasitic on legumes (a number of legumes are commonly called "Vetch").

Aphyllon means, according to Weber, " 'broom', a shrubby legume, + "raap", a Danish word for turnip or radish, describing the nodule at the point of attachment of [the] broom and [the] parasite".

Click for more information about Aphyllon (Orobanche).

Aphyllon fasciculatum
Aphyllon fasciculatum. Synonym: Orobanche fasciculata. (Bundled Broomrape)
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Foothills, montane. Openings, shrublands, woodlands. Summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, June 11, 2008.

This is a common Aphyllon, usually parasitic on Sagebrush but also on various Salt Bushes and other plants in Pinyon/Juniper forests.  It can grow to about six inches tall but is more typically only one-to-four inches tall.

Aphyllon fasciculata can be pink, purple, or yellow.  

This plant was first collected for science by Thomas Nuttall in 1811 or 1812 "in sandy alluvial soils, around Fort Mandan" [quotation from Intermountain Flora] and was named Orobanche fasciculata by Nuttall in his 1818 Genera of North American Plants.  The 1856 name of Aphyllon fasciculatum given by Torrey and Gray is now supported by the genetic evidence mentioned above.

Aphyllon fasciculatum
Aphyllon fasciculatum. Synonym: Orobanche fasciculata. (Bundled Broomrape)
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Foothills, montane. Openings, shrublands, woodlands. Summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, June 11, 2008.

Aphyllon fasciculatum  Aphyllon fasciculatum
Aphyllon fasciculatum. Synonym: Orobanche fasciculata. (Bundled Broomrape)
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Foothills, montane. Openings, shrublands, woodlands. Summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, August 1, 2009.

A dead and dried Aphyllon fasciculata shows how its root surrounds a root of its host, Artemisia nova

Note also that most of the stem (just below the shiny portion in the left photograph) was below ground and the total stem length about equals the pedicel length. There is considerable disagreement among botanists about the range of lengths of the stems and pedicles and there are even contradictions within individual botanist's descriptions but there does seem to be general agreement on two points: 1) stems are about the same length or a bit longer than pedicles, and 2) plants are short, typically no more than about 5 inches tall.

 

Aphyllon uniflorum
Aphyllon uniflorum.  Synonym: Orobanche uniflora.  (Single-flower Broomrape)
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Foothills, montane. Openings, shrublands, woodlands. Summer.
Mesa de Cuba, New Mexico, June 1, 2010.

Most of the very short stem (.5-5 cm) of Aphyllon uniflora lies below ground. The pedicels (the long portions of the plant supporting the flowers) are much longer ( 3-15 cm) than the stem. You can see this dramatic difference in the photograph at left. The long pedicels branch off the stems almost at ground level.

This species was named by Linnaeus in 1753 from specimens collected in Virginia.

Aphyllon uniflorum

Aphyllon uniflorum. Synonym: Orobanche uniflora(Single-flower Broomrape)
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Foothills, montane. Openings, shrublands, woodlands. Summer.
Mesa de Cuba, New Mexico, June 1, 2010.

Aphyllon uniflorum

Aphyllon uniflorum

Aphyllon uniflorum. Synonym: Orobanche uniflora(Single-flower Broomrape)
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Foothills, montane. Openings, shrublands, woodlands. Summer.
Mesa de Cuba, New Mexico, June 1, 2010.

Both species shown on this page are quite glandular-hairy.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Aphyllon fasciculata

Aphyllon uniflorum

Range map for Aphyllon uniflora