Family: Broomrape Family – Orobanchaceae
(formerly Figwort Family – Scrophulariaceae)
Growing form: Annual herb. Taproot small. Hemiparasite.
Height: 15–30 cm (6–12 in.). Stem 4-edged, finely haired, reddish; initially branchless, in early autumn basal and middle part abundant and long-branched, branches arched from base, flowering.
Flower: Corolla zygomorphic, red, approx. 10 mm (0.4 in.) long, fused, bilabiate, with long tube, hairy. Upper lip with notched, convex tip; lower lip 3-lobed, central lobe with notched tip, side lobes round-tipped. Calyx widely campanulate (bell-shaped), 4-lobed, lobes narrow, tapered. Stamens 4. A single carpel, body protruding from flower. Inflorescence a one-sided, long, sparse, at least initially nodding terminal spike.
Leaves: Opposite, stalkless, longer than stalk internodes. Blade narrowly ovate–narrowly lanceolate, with tapered tip, both sides rigidly haired, with sparsely shallow-toothed margin. Subtending bracts often reddish.
Fruit: Long, brown, hairy, approx. 5.5 mm (0.44 in.) long, usually same length as calyx, capsule opening along seams.
Habitat: Road and field banks, pastures, yards, wasteland, boat harbours, seashore meadows.
Flowering time: July–September.