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What in the world?

written by Rodney Moffett
9 · 27 · 21

Hyobanche rubra

Known in English as Broomrape, in Afrikaans as “Aardroos” and in Sesotho as “Moshoafeela”, this unusual plant belongs to the snapdragon family.

It has an underground stem and is a parasite, living off the roots of another plant. The portion above ground is the inflorescence with dark pink to red flowers.

The name Hyobanche means “to strangle” and the Sotho name is equally perceptive and may mean “the naked one which kills”, alluding to its ability as a parasite to kill its host plant.

A similar species in the Western Cape is known as “Katnaels”and “Skilpadkos”.

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