One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any plant of the genus Orobanche, of the family Scrophulariaceae (or Orobanchaceae), comprising the broomrapes, herbaceous root-parasites with fleshy stems, scaly leaves that lack chlorophyll, and tubular flowers; (in early use) especially greater broomrape, O. rapum-genistae, which parasitizes gorse and other shrubby leguminous plants. Also (in form Orobanche): the genus itself.
Mid 16th century; earliest use found in William Turner (d. 1568), naturalist and religious controversialist. From classical Latin orobanchē plant parasitic on vetch (especially the dodder Cuscuta europaea or the broomrape Orobanche crenata) or its etymon ancient Greek ὀροβάγχη (from ὄροβος) + ἄγχειν to strangle; compare strangle-tare.
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