Ivy broomrape

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Among the ivy you will find a rather unusual plant which looks like an asparagus. This is ivy broomrape (Orobanche hederae). Broomrapes are parasitic plants which do not perform photosynthesis. They do not have leaves or the green colouration typical of a plant. With their roots, they take sap from other plants, in this case ivy.

Their Catalan name of frare – friar– comes from the shape of the flowers which resemble a hood, but some people suggest that this name has something to do with clergymen… There are as many as 200 species of plant in this genus! Each one very specifically acts as a parasite on another species; in Catalonia there are many other types of broomrape affecting rosemary, beans, and so on.

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