Burro Weed Strangler
Desert Broomrape

Orobanche cooperi

Orobanche cooperi, Watercolor Illustration © by Michael Plagens

LEAVES: No green leaves. Purplish-brown bracts on flowering stalk are short, elliptic.

FLOWERS: Dark purple to brown flowering stalk appears briefly above ground in spring time. Purple flowers are two-lipped.

ANNUAL HERB: Parasitic on roots of bursages, salt bush and possibly other desert shrubs. Appears above ground during spring flowering periods.


FRUIT: Dry capsules split open lengthwise to release numerous small seeds.

RANGE: This is a common plant but is not easily found when not in bloom. It is widely distributed in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and Sonora on bajadas and desert plains.

Orobanche cooperi, Watercolor Illustration © by Michael Plagens

Bolting up through crusty, sandy soil near Tacna, Yuma Co., Arizona. 20 Feb. 2016.

Orobanchaceae -- Broomrape Family

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More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 6 Nov. 2007,
updated 25 Feb. 2016