Lathraea


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Related to Lathraea: Lathraea squamaria, broomrapes

Lathraea

 

a genus of perennial herbaceous plants of the family Scrophulariaceae. The plants are achlorophyllous and parasitic. The stem is fleshy, and the leaves are scalelike. The flowers have a two-lipped corolla and are in a racemose or cymose cluster. The fruit is a capsule that dehisces into two valves.

There are five to seven species of Lathraea, distributed mainly in the temperate belt of Eurasia. One species, the toothwort (L. squamaria), is found in the USSR. The toothwort, which is 15–30 cm tall, has a thick, whitish, branching rhizome that is thickly covered with scalelike leaves. In early spring, the plant develops pinkish white stems. At the ends of the stems, which are mostly underground, there are stout, one-sided, drooping spikes of raspberry-red flowers. The lower flowers are cleistoga-mous. The toothwort grows in the European USSR and the Caucasus in shady broad-leaved forests, in mixed fir and broad-leaved forests, and in thickets. It parasitizes the roots of trees and shrubs, mainly filberts, alders, bird cherries, ashes, and lindens.

T. V. EGOROVA