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Common Name: Cancer Root
Orobanche fasciculata is a perennial plant that can grow up to 1.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
Western N. America - Indiana to Yukon and British Columbia, south to California and Arizona.
], where it is parasitic on the roots of Eriogonum and Artemisia spp[
], to 3200 metres in California and north to British Columbia[
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of the country. It requires a well-drained soil and should succeed in sun or shade.
A fully parasitic plant lacking in chlorophyll, it is entirely dependant upon its host plant for obtaining nutrient[
The entire plant is edible - raw or cooked[
]. The plant can be boiled in ashes then peeled and eaten like potatoes[
The root is pectoral[
]. The chewed root has been used as a dressing on wounds and open sores[
An infusion of the leaves is used as a wash on sores[
Forms of the plant that are parasitic on sweet sage roots have been used as a treatment of cancer[
The dried and powdered plant is inserted in the rectum as a specific treatment for haemorrhoids[
Seed - we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in a pot containing a host plant. The seed is probably best sown as soon as it is ripe if this is possible. It might also be possible to sow the seed in situ around a host plant.