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California Broomrape Back to Plant Page
Orobanche californica

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About California Broomrape (Orobanche californica) Orobanche californica, known by the common name California broomrape, is a species of broomrape. It is a parasitic plant growing attached to the roots of other plants, usually members of the Asteraceae. Orobanche californica is native to western North America from British Columbia and Idaho, through California and Nevada, to Baja California. It is found in many types of habitats. It has been noted to be associated with California goldenrod (Solidago californica) and sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata). This plant arises from a thick root and grows erect to a maximum height near 35 centimetres (14 in), with one stem or a cluster of several. As a parasite taking its nutrients from a host plant, it lacks leaves and chlorophyll. It is light to dark purple in color and coated with glandular hairs. The inflorescence is an elongated or branching array of several flowers. Each flower is tubular, up to 5 centimeters long, and pale pink, yellowish, or purple in color, sometimes with stark veining. The fruit is a capsule containing minute seeds. Subspecies. There are several subspecies, which are sometimes difficult to differentiate. They include:Orobanche californica ssp. californica - native to coastal habitats, central California to B. C. , parasitizes Grindelia Orobanche californica ssp. feudgei - native to dry areas in southern and eastern California and Baja California mountains, growing on chaparral plants. Orobanche californica ssp. grandis - uncommon subspecies, found in coastal areas of Southern California and northern Channel Islands, to San Francisco Bay Area. Orobanche californica ssp. grayana - native to moist meadows/stream banks in the San Francisco Bay Area, northern Sierra Nevada, and Modoc Plateau; on Erigeron and Aster Orobanche californica ssp. jepsonii - uncommon, native from southern Sierra/San Joaquin Valley/ Santa Barbara County, north to Oregon border; found on assorted Asteraceae. Uses. The Paiute people of eastern California and the Great Basin used a decoction as a cold remedy and pulmonary aid.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
1.2 ft (0.37 m)

Flower Color

Native Status

Natural Setting
Elevation ?
3' - 8861'

Annual Precip. ?
5.6" - 87.4"

Summer Precip. ?
0.15" - 2.63"

Coldest Month ?
25.7° F - 57.6° F

Hottest Month ?
53.0° F - 86.2° F

Humidity ?
0.29 vpd - 37.09 vpd

Landscaping Information
Nursery Availability
Never or Almost Never Available

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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