Ian Boyd tells us about broomrapes

The broomrapes are up and about in hedgerows and roadside verges and it’s a good time to track them down.

These peculiar plants need no chlorophyll since they steal what food they need from haustoria, needled into the roots of a host plant.

Most are quite specific in their choice, such as the eponymous ivy and yarrow broomrapes, but common broomrape will parasitise all sorts though has a distinct taste for legumes (clovers especially).

yarrow broomrapeivy broomrapecommon broomrape