One-flowered Cancer Root

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June 4, 2010

One-flowered Cancer Root

One-flowered Cancer Root

One-flowered Cancer Root (Orobanche uniflora) is usually found in late May to early June growing in mature forests. It is a root parasite of a number of different plants. Some references say it prefers Sedum. I often find it under Hemlock, but I do not know that it is a Hemlock parasite.
There is another member of the Cancer Root family, Small Cancer Root (Orobanche minor), which is an invasive species that parasitizes members of the Clover family. It is native to Eurasia, and it must be quite a nuisance, inasmuch as it has made the Federal Government’s Noxious Weed List, whereon, as if to make a point, the Department of Agriculture refers to it as “Hellroot.” It grows in lawns and other areas where clover grows. Small Cancer Root has multiple flowers on a stalk, whereas One-flowered Cancer Root has—yep—one flower.

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