Broomrape Plant Information

Broomrape grows in the following 50 states:

Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, District Of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Oregon, West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington

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 stems of a species parasitic on the fava bean are gathered and eaten in the region of Apulia, in southern Italy, where they are given the name of sporchia.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.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.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.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 10-60cm 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.

The scientific name comes from Ancient Greek (orobos, -bitter vetch) + (ankh, -strangle). The common English name comes from the English word broom, and the Latin rapum ("tuber").

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