Aphyllon purpureum

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  • Scientific Name: Aphyllon purpureum
  • Family: Orobanchaceae
  • Common Names: purple broomrape
  • Synonyms/Misapplications: Aphyllon uniflorum, Orobanche porphyrantha, Orobanche sedii, Orobanche uniflora, O. uniflora vars. minuta, O. purpurea, O. unifoflora subsp. occidentalis
  • Codon: APHPUR

Photo by Ray Izumi, 2010, also featured on Main Page.


Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Viridiplantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Subphylum: Spermatophytina
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Asteranae
Order: Lamiales
Family: Orobanchaceae
Genus: Aphyllon
Species: Aphyllon purpureum (A. Heller) Holub (unaccepted)
  • Orobanche purpurea Jacq.
  • Orobanche uniflora L.
  • Aphyllon uniflorum (L.) A. Gray



Fleshy root parasites, 1-5 cm. stems, which are much shorter than pedicels, which are 3-10 cm. long. Plants glandular-hairy above.

Leaves lacking, flowers without bractlets.

Corolla pale to deep purple, occasionally ochroleucous or yellow, pedicels yellowish to dull reddish. Corolla lobes about 2 times as long as corolla tube.

Fruit is a 2-celled capsules.[2][3]

Bloom Period

April to August[4]


Southern BC and southern Alaska south, on both sides of Cascades, to California, East to Alberta and Rocky Mountain States.[2]


Moist to dry meadows and forest openings in the lowland, steppe and montane zones.[3]

Mostly parasitic on the roots of herbaceous Asteraceae, Saxifragaceae and Sedum.[2]


The whole plant is edible raw or cooked. Medicinally, A. purpureum is laxative and sedative.[5]


Aphyllon purpureum
Photo credit Lisa Hintz

Aphyllon purpureum

Seed sample from 2011


Average Measurement: 0.2 x 0.1 x 0.1

Measurement Range: L: 0.1 – 0.3, W: 0.1 – 0.2, D: 0.1 – 0.2

Latitudinal Cross Section: elliptical Lat cs.png

Longitudinal Cross Section: elliptical Long cs.png

Shape: Seed very small, slightly narrower at hilum and opposite apex. Seed generally egg shaped, some specimens more slender than others.

Color: Most seeds brown, some tan.

Surface: Seed coat deeply honeycombed, and somewhat iridescent.

Basic Explanations and Assumptions:

The dimensions for the seeds are length x width x depth. The location of the hilum is used as the base of the seed, and the length is measured from hilum to the opposite apex. Where a style is present, the length is measured from the hilum to the bottom of the style. Width is measured at a right angle to the length at the widest part. Depth is measured at a right angle to the intersection of height and width lines.

Measurements included are the mean average for each measurement of ten separate seeds.

All measurements in millimeters unless otherwise noted.

Photo Gallery


  1. Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved from https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=34300
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Hitchcock, C. L., Cronquist, A., Giblin, D., & Legler, B. et al. (2018). Flora of the Pacific Northwest: an illustrated manual. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2020-06-03 12:41:59 PM ]
  4. WTU Herbarium, Burke Museum, & University of Washington. Retrieved from https://biology.burke.washington.edu/herbarium/imagecollection/taxon.php?Taxon=Aphyllon%20purpureum
  5. Eaton, J. S., & Tyler, R. W. (2011). Discovering wild plants: Alaska, Western Canada, the Northwest. Motueka, N.Z.: Eaton.