Text by Doreen Smith and photos by Doreen and Vernon Smith

Orobanche bulbosa IMG 5806c
Orobanche bulbosa is parasitic on chamise, Adenostoma fasciculatum, in the chaparral of Mt. Tamalpais.

Orobanche californicaOrobanche californica ssp californica IMG 3006sm









Orobanche californica ssp. californica grows on Grindelia stricta on Pt. Reyes. The first plant was flowering in July at the west side of the tip of Chimney Rock peninsula, and the second in August at South Beach.

Another subspcies, Orobanche californica ssp. grayana has been collected near the Chileno Laguna on Aster (Symphyotrichum spp.) No plants have been reported seen recently.


Orobanche californica jepsoniiOrobanche californica ssp. jepsoniiphoto by Doreen L. Smith






Orobanche californica ssp. jepsonii: our plants were given this name by the taxonomists at UC/JEPS herbarium from a collection made recently.
They are supposedly parasitic on Asteraceae. This population was found near Sir Francis Drake High School where it flowers on the creek bank in July and August.
Our plants are very like Orobanche vallicola, which is parasitic on Sambucus mexicana, blue elderberry.


Orobanche fasciculata IMG 1997smOrobanche fasciculata IMG 2003sm

Orobanche fasciculata is most common on Mt. Tamalpais in late spring where it is parasitic on shrubs. Plants have also been found on the Tiburon peninsula in grassland.


Orobanche uniflora IMG 7172smOrobanche uniflora IMG 7192sm

Orobanche uniflora is a spring-flowering species. Large-flowered plants grow along the below-Alpine- Dam pump road to Kent Lake. Small-flowered plants have been seen on Sedum spathulifolium along the Tomales bluffs next to Highway 1.


One rarely seen species of Orobanche is O. pinorum which (surprisingly) is parasitic on ocean spray, Holodiscus discolor. There are herbarium specimens from Lagunitas.

Some of the other spp. of Orobanche not illustrated here haven’t been seen or photographed recently. Perhaps someone will find them and add to the Orobanche gallery on this website.

For more information and photographs of these
California native plants, go to Calflora or CalPhotos.

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