Botanical Name: Orobanche ludoviciana
Common Name: Broom Rape, Louisiana broomrape, Manyflower broomrape, Prairie broom-rape
Habitat :Orobanche ludoviciana is native to North America – Illinois to South Dakota, Saskatchewan, Nebraska, Texas, Arizona and California. It grows on sandy soils on the plains where it is parasitic on the roots of Ambrosia spp and other members of the Compositae. It is found below 1200 metres in California.
Orobanche ludoviciana is a perennial plant growing to 1.5 m (5ft) often without branches. Leaves are scales and numerous. The inflorescences are many-flowered spikes that occupy a half to a third of the shoot. Flowers sessile or with small up to 15mm pedicels for the lower flowers. Calyx subtended by 1 or 2 bracts, which are bilabiate. Corolla is 1.5-2.5 cm and often a violet-like color. 2n=24, 48, 72, 96. Inhabits sandy soil.
Numerous flowers are clustered in a dense spike, the spike often making up to 2/3 of the plant height. Flowers are tubular, ½ to ¾ inch long, the lower ones may have up to a 1-inch stalk while upper ones are stalkless. Flowers are densely hairy with color ranging from a light pink to often deep purplish rose with yellow on the inside lower lip. The typical flower has a 2-lobed upper lip and 4-lobed lower though they can be split with 3 above and 3 below. Sepals are also tubular with five long lance-linear lobes, brownish in color and densely hairy. Each flower is attended by a broad oval bract tapered to a point as well as 1 or 2 smaller bractlets, all brownish colored and densely hairy.
Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple
Stems are usually simple or may be branched, often subterranean with many scale-like leaves.
The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of the country. It requires a well-drained soil and should succeed in sun or shade. A fully parasitic plant lacking in chlorophyll, it is entirely dependant upon its host plant for obtaining nutrient.
Seed – we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in a pot containing a host plant. The seed is probably best sown as soon as it is ripe if this is possible. It might also be possible to sow the seed in situ around a host plant.
Root – roasted. Stem. Base of young stems roasted.
Medicinal Uses: The chewed plant has been used as a dressing on wounds. A poultice of the stems has been used in the treatment of ulcerated sores
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.