Plants photographed on Kyffhäuser
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Striga gesnerioides (Willd.) Vatke ex Engl.


Striga gesnerioides

Habit (dry season)



Family: Scrophulariaceae
Full name: Striga gesnerioides (Willd.) Vatke ex Engl.
Location: Kyffhäuser (2416AD + 2416CB)
ID status: Fairly certain
Afrikaans common name(s): Blou-rooiblommetjie, Rooiblom, Bloublom
English common name(s): Witchweed, Purple witchweed, Tobacco witchweed, Cowpea witchweed
Synonym(s): Buchnera gesnerioides Willd.
Buchnera orobanchoides R.Br.
Harveya varia (E.Mey. ex Drège) Hook. ex C.Presl
Orobanche varia E.Mey. ex Drège
Striga chloroleuca Dinter
Striga orobanchoides (R.Br.) Benth.
Status: Native
Description: Parasite, Flowers in a terminal spike, corolla tubularm pink with darker veining, occasionally white, red, mauve or purple.

Tufted, erect annual or perennial, parasitic herb, 10-35 cm tall, growing from a tuber-like haustorium up to c. 3 cm in diameter. Stems branching from the base, somewhat succulent, 4-angled, greenish-yellow or reddish-purple. Leaves scale-like, appressed to the stems, 5-10 mm long, minutely hairy or almost hairless. Flowers opposite or alternate, 2-3 per node. Bracts of similar length as the calyx. Calyx 5-ribbed, 4-8 mm long with linear teeth. Corolla from pale or pink to dark purple. Notes: Mostly a root parasite on legumes such as Indigofera, Tephrosia and Vigna but also on grasses and other plants. (from Flora of Zimbabwe website)

Annual or occasionally perennial, 12–30 cm tall, unbranched or branched from the base, usually succulent, drying black or brown, sparsely to densely hispid or pilose; stem terete or obtusely square. Leaves 4–10 x 1–3 mm, opposite or subopposite, lanceolate, scale-like, appressed, entire, usually shorter than internodes, with obscure veins. All bracts similar, 2.5–6 x 2–3 mm, lanceolate, longer or shorter than calyx. Flowers opposite or subopposite in simple spikes, spike shorter or longer than vegetative stem. Calyx 5-ribbed, 4–9 mm long; tube 3–6 mm long; lobes 5, unequal or subequal, linear, deltate or lanceolate, 1–3 mm long, shorter than tube. Corolla creamy-white, blue, pink or purple; tube 8–14 mm long, bent and expanded distally above calyx, pubescent with very few sometimes glandular hairs; lobes of lower lip 2–6 x 1.3–3 mm, obovate, spreading; upper lip 1–2 x 2–2.5 mm, indistinctly 2-lobed or emarginate. (from JSTOR Global Plants website / Flora Somalia)

Stiff erect perennial herb with usually rather stout stems a few inches to 1 ft. or more high; flowers pink or purple or creamy white; in waste places and cultivated land; drying black. (from JSTOR Global Plants website / Flora of West Tropical Africa)

Tufted, greenish-yellow or reddish-purple, succulent annual or perennial, usually branching from the base, 11–25(–35) cm high, drying black; a single large primary haustorium ± 1–3 cm diameter is usually present on each plant when parasitizing; adventitious roots abundant from subterranean scales; stems quadrangular with obtuse angles, minutely puberulous. Leaves scale-like, appressed to the stem, 5–10 mm long, 2–3 mm wide; minutely puberulent with upward pointing hairs to almost glabrous. Flowers opposite or alternate, usually 2(–3) per node; bracts usually the same length and width as calyx, acuminate; bracteoles minute, 3/4 length of calyx. Calyx 5-ribbed, 4–8 mm long (including the teeth), 2 mm wide; teeth linear, acuminate, shorter than the calyx-tube. Corolla light blue, pink or dark purple, 1.2–1.5 cm long; tube 7–11 mm, bent just below limb, glandular, and pubescent with small hairs, sometimes papillae-like; upper lobes 2–2.5 mm long, sharply recurved, lower 3–3.2 mm long. Capsule oblong, 1–2 cm long, 3 mm wide. (from JSTOR Global Plants website / Flora of Tropical East Africa)

Tufted, greenish-yellow, succulent herb, usually branching from base, 11–25(35) cm tall. Single large primary haustorium c. 1–2 cm in diam. usually present on each plant; adventitious roots abundant from subterranean scales. Stems square but only obtusely angled. Leaves scale-like, appressed to stem, 5–10 x 2–3 mm. Leaves and stems minutely puberulent with upward pointing hairs to almost glabrous. Flowers opposite or alternate, usually 2, rarely 3 per node, not fragrant. Bracts usually same length and width as calyx, acuminate. Bracteoles minute, three quarters the length of calyx. Calyx 4–6 mm long (including teeth), 2 mm wide. Corolla 1.2–1.5 cm long, light blue or dark purple; bend in tube just below limb. Upper lobes 2–2.5 mm long, sharply recurved, lower 3–3.2 mm long. Capsules 1–2 x 3 mm. Pollen mass usually persistent on stigma. (from JSTOR Global Plants website / Flora Zambesiaca)

a parasitical herb, finely pilose or very nearly glabrous, 3–12 in. high, turning dusky in drying; stem simple or branched, sulcate, purplish in the living state; leaves all scale-like, small, opposite or the upper scattered, numerous, oval, ovate or lanceolate, obtuse or the upper acute, sessile, entire, concave adpressed, the floral about 0.25 in. long by 0.125 in. broad, the lower smaller; flowers about 0.375 in. long, numerous, spicate, pink, purple or red; spikes terminal, elongated, dense above, interrupted below; pedicels very short, opposite or the upper subopposite or alternate; bracteoles lanceolate, ciliate, hispidulous, subacute, adpressed to the calyx, about 0.125– 0.167 in. long; calyx 0.2– 0.25 in. long, 5-ribbed, hispidulous, 5-cleft; lobes lanceolate, acuminate, about 0.125 in. long; corolla-tube slender, strongly bent near the apex; limb about 0.25– 0.333 in. in diam.; lobes 5, glabrous, 0.083– 0.167 in. long, lowest one the largest, two lateral obovate and slightly retuse, two upper recurved, smaller than the others, oblong, obtuse; stamens all glabrous and perfect; style slender, somewhat shorter than the corolla-tube, persistent; stigma thickened, entire; capsule oval-oblong, about 0.2 in. long; seeds minute, slightly pitted. (from JSTOR Global Plants website / Flora Capensis)
Link(s) African Plant Database
JSTOR Plant Science
Kew Herbarium Catalogue
BGBM Berlin-Dahlem - Virtual Herbarium
Züricher Herbarien
iNaturalist (Namibia / Alex Dreyer)
iNaturalist (Namibia)
iNaturalist (southern Africa)
Flora of Zimbabwe
Fleurs de notre Terre - Galerie Namibie
Tree Atlas of Namibia
Photographer: AA Dreyer
Date of photograph: 19 Mar 2007
Camera make: Canon
Camera model: PowerShot A700
Lens aperture: f/2.8
Shutter speed: 1/40 s
ISO speed: -
Content last updated: 01 Jun 2020


Note: The identification of some of the plants on this website is not 100% certain. Any comments will be highly appreciated. I would also be willing to supply higher resolution images upon request. Please contact me at the e-mail address given below.

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