Broomrape is a parasitic perennial plant that is native to the western US. It’s stalk is yellow and is unable to produce chlorophyll and therefore cannot photosynthesize. It relies completely on its host plant for nutrients. Broomrape seeds can sit in the soil for many years; their germination is triggered by certain natural chemicals that are created by a nearby living root. The seed becomes aware that a potential host is nearby and then it germinates and latches on. Is flowers are usually yellow, white, blue or purple, and the petals and stems have “hair” growing on them.
puparium of Phytomyza orobanchia may be found in stem of Orobanche
Other: sole host/prey
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimens with Sequences:452
Specimens with Barcodes:163
Species With Barcodes:108
Barcode data: Orobanche cf. gracilis GMS-2004
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Orobanche cf. gracilis GMS-2004
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Orobanche (broomrape or broom-rape) is a genus of over 200 species of parasitic herbaceous plants in the family Orobanchaceae, mostly native to the temperate Northern Hemisphere. Some species formerly included in this genus are now referred to the genus Conopholis. The broomrape plant is small, from 10–60 cm tall depending on species. It is best recognized by its yellow- to straw-coloured stems completely lacking chlorophyll, bearing yellow, white, or blue snapdragon-like flowers. The flower shoots are scaly, with a dense terminal spike of between ten and twenty flowers in most species, although single in O. uniflora. The leaves are merely triangular scales. The seeds are minute, tan-to-brown, and blacken with age. These plants generally flower from late winter to late spring. When they are not flowering, no part of the plants is visible above the surface of the soil.
As they have no chlorophyll, they are totally dependent on other plants for nutrients. Broomrape seeds remain dormant in the soil, often for many years, until stimulated to germinate by certain compounds produced by living plant roots. Broomrape seedlings put out a root-like growth, which attaches to the roots of nearby hosts. Once attached to a host, the broomrape robs its host of water and nutrients.
Some species are only able to parasitise a single plant species, such as ivy broomrape Orobanche hederae, which is restricted to parasitising ivy; these species are often named after the plant they parasitise. Others can infect several genera, such as the lesser broomrape O. minor, which lives on clover and other related Fabaceae.
Branched broomrape Orobanche ramosa, native to central and southwestern Europe but widely naturalised elsewhere, is considered a major threat to crops in some areas. Plants that it parasitizes are tomato, eggplant, potato, cabbage, coleus, bell pepper, sunflower, celery, and beans. In heavily infested areas, branched broomrape can cause total crop failure.
Branched broomrape was found near Bowhill, South Australia, in 1992, and some properties have been quarantined for more than a decade. The weed could become a national problem in Australia unless it can be contained.
The scientific name comes from Ancient Greek ὄροβος (orobos, “bitter vetch”) + ἄγχω (ankhō, “strangle”). The common English name comes from the English word broom, and the Latin rapum ("tuber").
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- Yoder, J.I. (2001) Host-plant recognition by parasitic Scrophulariaceae. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 4:359-365.
- Luard, E. European peasant cookery, Grub Street, 2004, p.380
- Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, Literature and Art (1868). Report & transactions. p. 256.
- http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0059%3Aentry%3Drapum. Missing or empty
- GRIN. "Species in GRIN for genus Orobanche". Taxonomy for Plants. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland: USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Retrieved October 30, 2009.
- "Plant Name Query Results for Orobanche". IPNI. Retrieved November 1, 2009.
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