Out There: A peek into a unique plant’s life

Web Lead

One-flowered broom rape is one of many May flowers.

The flowers of May are fast appearing. They are all very fascinating and in their own right hold unsurpassed beauty in appearance and in the intricate role they fill in their neighbourhood.

One May flower seems to diverge from the “path” taken by most spring flowers. That is the one-flowered broomrape, also known as orobanche. You may have met this interesting plant personality, a one-of-a-kind, you may agree; however, if you haven’t, it will soon appear in open rocky areas on the Balancing Rock and Lady’s Slipper trails, and in other favourable niches.

I like Ellen Burt’s descriptive account of part of the broomrape’s life. Let’s take a look through this little window. Here is what she says:

“Overnight, orobanche appears from rain-soaked grass, a three-centimetre-high, indigo Thumbelina, stem and flower translucent as if fallen from the sky, mouth waiting open while drops of water coalesce on lips. On morrow as May heat returns, this delicate debutante gone, no trace, no leave have grown and withered, no added bloom bounds on the hillside, no sign of Orobanche uiflora, choking vetch, parasitic on a broom.

“Uniflora, that single bloom, slips away, leaving only a word, ‘orobanche,’ that echoes like a chant, a puzzle, ‘orobanche,’ meaning choking vetch, broomrape, parasitic on roots of sedum.

“Surely sedum, stone-crop, that clinging summer succulent think with leather leaves designed for toughness, scratchy-looking yellow when grass turns brown, can afford to lend a little to the delicate uniflora. I would not call that rape or even a shame.

“Orobanche, a song that asks to give just a little water, a tear, a peek to a lady terrified to hear her own name, Orobanche uniflora, naked broomrape, parasitic on sedum.”

My appearance in this column will be the last regular one till fall. Until then, I hope to step up my involvement in some summer projects, including some exploring. In the meantime, perhaps we will meet out there or meet over some amazing new wild personality you have met.

Ed McMackin is a biologist by profession but a naturalist and hiker by nature. He can be reached at 250-866-5747.

 

Just Posted

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

McKerracher Re-Elected Hospital District Chair

The Kootenay East Regional Hospital District Board has elected its Chair and Acting Chair for the coming year.

Changes in 2018 for Fields Forward

Staffing changes in the Fields Forward team

Alberta trade ban shouldn’t harm Creston Valley wineries

The recent decision by Alberta Premier Rachel Notley to ban the import… Continue reading

Town to consider tax breaks for affordable housing

Town Council will explore the possibility of adding new affordable housing to its Revitalization Tax Exemption Program.

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

NDP Health Minister calls to offer woman seat on Interior Health Board

Joyce Beddow-Buckland of Ashcroft was surprised by the call, and accepted the offer.

SAR suspends search for missing man at Sun Peaks

RCMP will continue to search for a missing man near Kamloops but SAR has suspended their role

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

B.C. RCMP officer officially cleared in car wash shooting incident

A report found the Salmon Arm officer fired 14 bullets at the man’s truck

Interest in Canadian Armed Forces remains high

Canada seeks about 5,000 recruits each year for its regular forces of about 68,000

Rules reviewed to keep drug money out of B.C. real estate

Investigator looking at loans as well as casinos, David Eby says

Most Read