Orobanche aegyptiaca (Egyptian broomrape)
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- List of Symptoms/Signs
- Biology and Ecology
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Plant Trade
- Detection and Inspection
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Orobanche aegyptiaca Pers. (1806)
Preferred Common Name
- Egyptian broomrape
Other Scientific Names
- Kopsia aegyptiaca Caruel (1902)
- Orobanche parasitica Fischer
- Phelipaea aegyptiaca Walp. (1844)
- Phelipaea indica G. Don (1838)
- Phelipaea pedunculata Walpers (1832)
- Phelipanche aegyptiaca Pomel (1874)
International Common Names
- Arabic: halook
Local Common Names
- Cuba: orobanche
- Germany: Aegyptische Sommerwurz
- ORAAE (Orobanche aegyptiaca)
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Scrophulariales
- Family: Orobanchaceae
- Genus: Orobanche
- Species: Orobanche aegyptiaca
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page While most authorities treat Orobanche ramosa and Orobanche aegyptiaca as distinct species, and in most keys there is a clear differentiation between them on the basis of corolla length and hairiness of anthers, in practice many specimens fall on the borderline and are difficult to place with certainty. Keys and descriptions are given by Beck-Mennagetta (1930), Chater and Webb (1972) and Parker and Riches (1993).
DescriptionTop of page O. aegyptiaca is closely comparable with O. ramosa (qv) but the plant is normally more robust, 20-30(-40) cm high, the flowers normally over 20 mm long and anthers densely hairy. Keys and descriptions are given by Beck-Mennagetta (1930), Chater and Webb (1972) and Parker and Riches (1993).
Chromosome number (2n) = 24.
DistributionTop of page The distribution of O. aegytpiaca closely matches that of O. ramosa in Europe and the Middle East but there has been less dispersal to other continents than is the case with O. ramosa.
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Afghanistan||Widespread||Holm et al., 1979; Parker and Wilson, 1986|
|Bahrain||Present||Parker and Wilson, 1986|
|India||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|-Haryana||Present||Kataria et al., 2003|
|-Madhya Pradesh||Present||Ravi Upadhyay, 2004|
|-West Bengal||Present||Rae, 2001|
|Iran||Widespread||Holm et al., 1979; Parker and Wilson, 1986; Teimoury et al., 2012|
|Iraq||Present||Holm et al., 1979; Parker and Wilson, 1986|
|Israel||Present||Holm et al., 1979; Lati et al., 2013|
|Jordan||Widespread||Holm et al., 1979; Parker and Wilson, 1986|
|Kuwait||Restricted distribution||Parker and Wilson, 1986|
|Lebanon||Present||Holm et al., 1979; Parker and Wilson, 1986|
|Nepal||Present||Acharya et al., 2002|
|Pakistan||Present||Holm et al., 1979; Parker and Wilson, 1986|
|Saudi Arabia||Present||Parker and Wilson, 1986|
|Syria||Present||Beck-Mennagetta, 1930; Parker and Wilson, 1986|
|Turkey||Present||Chater and Webb, 1972; Holm et al., 1979; Aksoy et al., 2013|
|United Arab Emirates||Present||Parker and Wilson, 1986|
|Egypt||Present||Chater and Webb, 1972; Holm et al., 1979|
|Mauritania||Restricted distribution||Parker and Wilson, 1986|
|Morocco||Restricted distribution||Parker and Wilson, 1986|
Central America and Caribbean
|Cuba||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012|
|Bulgaria||Present||Chater and Webb, 1972|
|Greece||Present||Vagelas and Gravanis, 2014|
|Hungary||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Italy||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Russian Federation||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|-Central Russia||Present||Chater and Webb, 1972|
|-Southern Russia||Present||Chater and Webb, 1972|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page Orobanche species are listed as prohibited, and/or subject to quarantine, in virtually all countries with developed plant quarantine systems.
HabitatTop of page Most of the weedy Orobanche species are native to the Middle East and are adapted to soils of generally high pH. They occur to some extent in wild vegetation but the weedy species are mostly associated with the crops that they attack. The habitat of O. aegyptiaca is comparable to that of O. ramosa.
Habitat ListTop of page
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page The host range of O. aegyptiaca is closely similar to that of O. ramosa but O. aegyptiaca may occur more frequently on cucurbit crops than O. ramosa.
SymptomsTop of page The symptoms produced by O. aegyptiaca are comparable to those of O. ramosa. There are no very distinctive symptoms but there may be some yellowing and necrosis of the foliage, general weakening of the plant and reduced fruit production.
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|Leaves / wilting|
|Leaves / yellowed or dead|
|Roots / reduced root system|
|Whole plant / early senescence|
Biology and EcologyTop of page The biology and ecology of O. aegyptiaca is similar to that of O. ramosa.
Natural enemiesTop of page
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page O. aegyptiaca is attacked by the agromyzid fly Phytomyza orobanchia throughout much of its range and a high proportion of plants may be damaged as a result of the larvae reducing seed production and/or mining in the stem, leading to infection by fungi and total collapse. The fly has been used for biological control and was effective in the former Soviet Union for decades. However, this biological control agent gradually became less effective due to the spread of hyperparasites that attack the Phytomyza pupae. See Kroschel and Klein (1999) for a detailed review of this topic.
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page The very small seeds may very easily be moved from one field to another by water, wind, animals and man. The seeds remain viable after passing through the alimentary system of animals; therefore manure may be contaminated with viable Orobanche seeds.
Agricultural products of various crops may carry Orobanche seeds if harvested in an infested field.
Agricultural tools should always be cleaned after being used in an infested field to avoid transfer of Orobanche seeds or contaminated soil to non-infested fields.
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility of pest or symptoms|
|Bulbs/Tubers/Corms/Rhizomes||seeds||Yes||Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope|
|Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx||seeds||Yes||Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope|
|Fruits (inc. pods)||seeds||Yes||Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope|
|Growing medium accompanying plants||seeds||Yes||Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope|
|Roots||seeds||Yes||Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope|
|True seeds (inc. grain)||seeds||Yes||Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope|
ImpactTop of page O. aegyptiaca is recorded by Holm et al. (1979) as a 'serious' or 'principal' weed in Afghanistan, Arabia, Iran, Jordan and Italy. It is certainly a major problem in many countries of the Middle East and eastern Europe, especially on tomato, tobacco, aubergine and cucurbits. There are reports of 50% yield reduction of watermelon (Panchenko, 1974).
DiagnosisTop of page To check for the contamination of crop seed stocks, place a crop seed sample (100-400 g) into 1 litre of water containing 0.1% surfactant (e.g. Triton X-100). The water surface can be lightly sprayed with anti-foam. Allow to stand for 10 min, then stir well for 1-2 min. Decant the water (keep the seeds for the next step) onto the top sieve, with openings of 500 µm, which is placed on top of a second sieve with openings of 100 µm. Wash the seeds as above two additional times, decanting the water onto the sieve. On the last wash, dump the entire content onto the sieve together with the washing water. Using a shower nozzle, thoroughly wash the seeds on the sieve with an additional 5-8 litres of tap water. The presence of Orobanche seeds can be determined on the surface of the lower sieve using a dissection microscope (Jacobsohn and Marcus, 1988).
Detection and InspectionTop of page To determine the level of infection of the soil, before crops are planted, soil samples from different parts of the field may be taken, the lighter, organic matter separated, sieved, and the portion between 0.1 and 0.5 mm studied under the dissecting microscope for the presence of the characteristically sculpted seeds. See Pictures for an illustration of typical Orobanche seeds.
After crop establishment, the roots may be carefully retrieved and washed, and inspected for the presence of the typical tubercles, 1-20 mm. Note that the tubercles are easily disconnected from the roots if the root system is pulled out of the soil.
Later in the life of the crop, emerged shoots of O. aegyptiaca will be found, but much damage will by then already have occurred.
Bio-assay of Field Infestation
Flax can sometimes serve as an indicator of field infestation. Flax plants parasitized by Orobanche rapidly develop chlorosis and are considerably stunted. It is therefore used as a reliable tool to pinpoint infected spots in the field (Joel et al., 1990). It can also serve as a tool for infestation diagnosis in pots with soil samples taken from the field, and in experiments where the influence of different treatments on the Orobanche seed bank or on infestation needs to be examined (Joel et al., 1995a).
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page Specimens with flowers well over 20 mm long are readily distinguished from O. ramosa, but those with flowers around 20 mm may be difficult to assign.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.
Most countries prohibit entry of major parasitic weed species, including Orobanche spp.
Phytosanitation is aimed at preventing the spread of viable seeds by minimizing the movement of infested soil by farm machinery and vehicles, preventing grazing on infested plant material, treating manure (e.g. composting) and avoiding the use of hay made of Orobanche-infested plants (Jacobsohn, 1984). One should also avoid the use of Orobanche-infested crop seeds.
Hand-weeding of emerged stems is too late to prevent crop damage but may be worthwhile where infestations are still light, to prevent or reduce future infestations. The stems should immediately be removed from the field to preclude seed shed after pulling.
Trap crops may be used to promote germination of Orobanche seeds in soil, without themselves supporting parasitism, in order to deplete the seed reserve. Examples of trap crops for O. ramosa include flax, Phaseolus bean, sorghum, maize and cucumber (Parker and Riches, 1993). There are few examples of the fully successful use of this principle, but it should be considered in any integrated control approach.
Soil solarization, based on mulching moist soil with polyethylene sheets for several weeks under solar irradiation, can provide excellent levels of control of Orobanche seeds in the upper soil layers where temperatures are high enough (Jacobsohn et al., 1980), and this has been confirmed in a number of studies involving O. ramosa (see Parker and Riches, 1993).
Kebreab and Murdoch (1999) showed that seeds maintained at high mositure and high temperature lose viability relatively rapidly. This could explain the success that has been occasionally reported from prolonged flooding or water-logging (e.g. Mohamed-Ahmed and Drennan, 1994). A period of at least 6 weeks may be needed.
Screening of tobacco and tomato varieties against O. ramosa or O. aegyptiaca have demonstrated some variations in susceptibility (see Parker and Riches, 1993; Qasem and Kaswari, 1995) but there are no reports of successful application of these results.
The fly Phytomyza orobanchia has been used for biological control of Orobanche spp. and was effective in the former Soviet Union for decades, using special rearing and inundative release techniques. However, this became less effective due to the spread of hyperparasites (see Kroschel and Klein, 1999, for a detailed review).
Alternatives to now banned soil fumigation methods, including metam-sodium and dazomet may provide good control but methods of use are critical and best results are normally achieved with soil coverage by plastic (see Parker and Riches, 1993). Recommended doses of these compounds are usually very high and costly but much lower doses have been reported by Chalakov (1998) to be effective in Bulgaria, perhaps resulting from a germination-stimulatory effect and death by suicidal germination.
The sulfonylurea herbicides chlorsulfuron, rimsulfuron and triasulfuron have shown some selectivity against both O. aegyptiaca and O. ramosa in tomato, but application methods are critical, preferably through drip irrigation (e.g. Kleifeld et al., 1996; Vouzounis and Americanos, 1998; Goldwasser et al., 2001) and no simple recommendations are possible. Glyphosate at low doses post-emergence has likewise shown some selectivity in both tomato and tobacco but the margin of safety is too small for reliability.
The use of transgenic crops engineered with target-site herbicide resistance is one of the most promising solutions for Orobanche infestation in many crops. Using glyphosate on transgenic oilseed rape, and chlorsulfuron and asulam on tobacco, complete control of O. aegyptiaca has been achieved without affecting the crop or its yield (Joel et al., 1995b; Nandula et al., 1999).
ReferencesTop of page
Aksoy E; Arslan ZF; Öztürk N, 2013. Phelipanche aegyptiaca (Pers.) Pomel: a new record as a parasitic weed on apricot root in Turkey. African Journal of Agricultural Research, 8(29):4001-4006. http://www.academicjournals.org/article/article1380881275_Aksoy%20et%20al.pdf
Beck-Mennagetta G, 1930. Orobanchaceae. In: Engler HGA, ed. Das Pflanzenreich, 96(IV-261):1-275.
Chalakov H, 1998. Present situation and prospects for solving the tobacco broomrape problem in Bulgaria. In: Wegmann K, Musselman LJ, Joel DM, eds. Current Problems of Orobanche Research. Proceedings of the Fourth International Workshop on Orobanche, Albena, 1998, 401-403.
Chater AO; Webb DA, 1972. 2. Orobanche. In: Tutin TG, Heywood VH, Burgess NA, Morre DM, Valentine, DH, Walters SM, Webb DM, eds. Flora Europaea 3. Diapensiaceae to Myoporaceae. Cambridge, UK: University Press, 286-293.
Dor E; Aly R; Hershenhorn J, 2014. Pomegranate (Punica granatum) as host of the broomrapes Phelipanche aegyptiaca and Orobanche crenata in Israel. Plant Disease, 98(6):859. http://apsjournals.apsnet.org/loi/pdis
Goldwasser Y; Eisenberg H; Herschenhorn J; Plakhine D; Blumenfeld T; Buxbaum H; Golan S; Kleifeld K, 2001. Control of Orobanche aegyptiaca and O. ramosa in potato. Crop Protection, 20:403-410.
Jacobsohn R, 1984. Broomrape avoidance and control: agronomic problems and available methods. In: Borg SJ ter, ed. Proceedings of a Workshop on Biology and Control of Orobanche. Wageningen, Netherlands: LH/VPO, 18-24.
Jacobsohn R; Greenberger A; Katan J; Levi M; Alon H, 1980. Control of Egyptian broomrape (Orobanche pgyptiaca) and other weeds by means of solar heating of the soil by polyethylene mulching. Weed Science, 28(3):312-316
Joel DM; Peled T; Kleifeld Y; Golan S; Graph S; Levanon U, 1990. The use of flax as a catch crop for Orobanche spp. Phytoparasitica, 18:244.
Joel DM; Steffens JC; Matthews DE, 1995. Germination of Weedy Root Parasites. In: Kigel J, Galili G, eds. Seed Development and Germination. New York, USA: Marcel Dekker, Inc., 567-598.
Kleifeld Y; Goldwasser Y; Herzlinger G; Plakhine D; Golan S; Chilf T, 1996. Selective control of Orobanch aegyptiaca in tomato with sulfonylurea herbicides. In: Moreno MT, Cubero JI, Berner D, Joel DM, Musselman LJ, Parker C, eds. Advances in Parasitic Plant Research. Cordoba, Spain: Junta de Andalucia, 707-715.
Kroschel J; Klein O, 1999. Biological control of Orobanche spp. with Phytomyza orobanchia Kalt., a review. In: Kroschel J, Abderabihi M, Betz H. eds. Advances in Parasitic Weed Control at On-farm Level, Volume II. Wekersheim, Germany: Margraf Verlag, 135-159.
Mohamed-Ahmed AG; Drennan DSH, 1994. Factors effecting establishment of Orobanche spp. on legumes. Biology and management of Orobanche. Proceedings of the third international workshop on Orobanche and related Striga research, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 8-12 November 1993 [edited by Pieterse, A.H.; Verkleij, J.A.C.; Borg, S.J. ter] Amsterdam, Netherlands; Royal Tropical Institute, 312-319
Oviedo Prieto R; Herrera Oliver P; Caluff MG, et al. , 2012. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2011. (Lista nacional de especies de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2011). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba, 6(Special Issue 1):22-96.
Panchenko VP, 1974. [Micro-organisms in the control of Egyptian broomrape parasitising water melons.] Mikologia I Fitopathalogya, 8:122-125 (in Russian).
Rae SJ, 2001. Family 178. Orobanchaceae. In: Grierson AJC, Long DG, Springate LS, eds. Flora of Bhutan. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Royal Government of Bhutan, 2(3):1330-1334.
Vagelas I; Gravanis F, 2014. Phelipanche nana (Reut.) Sojak parasitism on lentil (Lens culinaris) and parasitism of P. aegyptiaca on Carduus marianus in Thessalia region, Greece. Archives of Phytopathology and Plant Protection, 47(16):1956-1962. http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/gapp20
Distribution MapsTop of page
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