This herbaceous parasitic plant species belongs to the genus Orobanche, which comprises 200 only parasitic species. However, the centre of diversity for the genus is in the Mediterranean Basin. Orobanche muteli belongs to the family Orobanchaceae and its common English name is Dwarf broomrape or Mutel's broomrape. Orobanche muteli can be rare in some parts of Palestine and wider area, but in general it is very common throughout the Mediterranean region, in habitats like distributed areas, Mediterranean woodlands and shrub lands, deserts and extreme deserts habitats.
Orobanche muteli has slender, branched, yellow stems that reach 10 to 30 cm height, but completely lacking chlorophyll. The leaves are alternate, lanceolate, but like merely triangular scales. The entire plant is more or less glandular hairy. The numerous flowers are hermaphrodite, have violet petals and a 15 to 22 mm funnel-shaped lobed corolla, pallid on the base and form inflorescence. The inflorescence grows a 2 to 25 cm long spike, with oblong-ovate bracts. The flowering period is from March to May and the fruits are capsules of 6 to 7 mm long, containing minute seeds.
Orobanche muteli is a roots parasite. As it has no chlorophyll, this plant is totally dependent on other plants roots for nutrients. When dwarf broomrape is not producing any flowers, no part of the plant is visible above the surface of the soil. In addition, dwarf broomrape causes serious problems in agriculture fields and can be found parasitizing a large number of species belonging to the families Asteraceae and Fabaceae. Furthermore, there are records that this plant is traditionally used as laxative and sedative. In addition, the leaves and roots are edible.
Other names: Palestine Broomrape.
IUCN red list status: not evaluated
Local status: least concern