Chris Thorogood

Cryptic Orobanche taxa lurking in retail carparks

This paper published in British & Irish Botany this year (2020, 2(3): 223-239) might be of interest to IPPS members who work on the genus Orobanche or other taxonomically challenging parasitic plant genera. The paper highlights the presence of cryptic, previously overlooked taxa in the widespread and variable species O. minor. Specifically, two new varieties of O. minor s.l. are described that are ecologically distinct and discussed within the broader context of cryptic taxa in the subsection Minores (Beck-Mannagetta) Teryokh in in the British Isles and continental Europe. One of the new varieties is specific to a cultivated shrub (Brachyglottis) that is cultivated commonly in British retail carparks!

The paper concludes that delineating taxa objectively and reliably is important for informing conservation priorities and that host identity and ecology, besides morphology, are essential considerations when identifying infraspecific taxa in taxonomically challenging parasitic plants.

The pdf can be downloaded directly from the journal’s website: