Hyobanche

Photos by: Andrea D. Wolfeİ
Location: Cape Region of South Africa


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Hyobanche (Scrophulariaceae) is a genus of holoparasites endemic to the southern region of Africa -- particularly in the Cape Regions of South Africa. Hyobanche sanguinea has the widest distribution ranging from coastal fynbos (vegetation dominated by Proteaceae) to desert karoo vegetation (succulent shrubs in upland areas). Flower colors range from salmon to scarlet to magenta and purple. Only the flowering portion is above ground, the rest of the plant consists primarily of a fleshy underground stem that is attached to a host root via a haustorium (e.g., see photo of H. glabrata for the underground stem).

In the autumn of 1996 (October and November), I spent three weeks in the Cape Region of South Africa collecting species of Hyobanche. This web page includes photos of four of those species: Hyobanche sanguinea, H. glabrata, H. rubra, and H. atropurpurea.


Hyobanche sanguinea

Hyobanche sanguinea habit

Hyobanche sanguinea has several different morphotypes depending on where it occurs. The most common form is shown here with a cucullate corolla and exserted stigma. Sand dune forms have a pyramidal inflorescence and some populations occurring in the Karoo have a straighter corolla.

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Go to: H. glabrata, H. rubra, H. atropurpurea


Hyobanche glabrata

Hyobanche glabrata

Hyobanche glabrata has a corolla ranging in color from scarlet to salmon. The corolla is relatively straight, glabrous to puberulent and the anthers are exserted at maturity. Distribution of this species is primarily in the desert regions of karoo vegetation. Hyobanche glabrata is very difficult to differentiate from H. rubra on herbarium sheets.

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Go to: Hyobanche sanguinea, H. rubra, H. atropurpurea


Hyobanche rubra

Hyobanche rubra

Hyobanche rubra has a ruby-red corolla with a slightly smaller mouth than H. glabrata and H. sanguinea. The corolla is relatively straight and has a "waxy" feel to it when fresh. The anthers are inserted at maturity (in contrast to the exserted anthers of H. glabrata). Distribution is in desert regions of karoo vegetation. On herbarium sheets, it's very difficult to tell H. rubra and H. glabrata apart. I annotated several specimens at NBG when I visited Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden.

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Go to: Hyobanche sanguinea, H. glabrata, H. atropurpurea


Hyobanche atropurpurea

Hyobanche atropurpurea

Hyobanche atropurpurea has the narrowest distribution of all the species of Hyobanche I collected in 1996. It is restricted to higher elevations of just a few mountain ranges in the Western Cape Region. It is also unique in having a dark purple (almost black) corolla and a musty odor. It shares the cucullate corolla character in common with H. sanguinea, but the mouth is much larger.

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Go to: Hyobanche sanguinea, H. rubra, H. atropurpurea


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Please send your suggestions, comments, corrections to wolfe.205@osu.edu
Last updated December 12, 1996.