You never know what you might find.

I’m often asked before a tour what we might see. My answer is always the same

‘Rule nothing in, rule nothing out’. You never know what you might see or find.

Tania and I were on the Isle of Wight last week. We were seeking out Glanville’s Fritillary … but more about butterflies in a later post. Tania pointed out a hillside of Broomrape. Broomrape are parasitic plants with particular species having a particular association with various host species.

Now those of you that know me will know I’m no botanist, but I could see this species of Broomrape was not one I knew. A quick text to friend Tony revealed we were stood amid a host of Oxtongue Broomrape (Orobanche picridis), a parasite of Hawkweed Oxtongue. A rare plant indeed.

However, it’s what we saw next which was so incredible.

Amid the throng of spikes was a very pale one. Now I’ve seen the pale form of Purple Broomrape previously, but this was subtly different. Another text to Tony took a few days to generate a reply. Tony had referred the find to ‘Mr Broomrape UK’ Author and botanist Chris Thorogood.

Here’s what he had to say:

“How intriguing, it’s a pigment-deficient form of O. picridis – forma rather than variety (but I don’t believe the official combination e.g. ‘forma lutea’ has ever been made for this species). Nice find 👍🏻

Chris Thorogood”

You never know what you might find.

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Jun 2022


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