Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Orobanche minor
(common broomrape)



Orobanche minor (common broomrape)


  • Last modified
  • 08 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Orobanche minor
  • Preferred Common Name
  • common broomrape
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Orobanche minor is not a highly invasive plant but its introduction could result in a significant impact on certain crop species, especially forage legumes and tobacco.

Don't need the entire report?

Generate a print friendly version containing only the sections you need.

Generate report


Top of page
O. minor on roots of tobacco plant. Ethiopia, 1987.
CaptionO. minor on roots of tobacco plant. Ethiopia, 1987.
Copyright©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
O. minor on roots of tobacco plant. Ethiopia, 1987.
HabitO. minor on roots of tobacco plant. Ethiopia, 1987.©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
O. minor in safflower crop. Ethiopia, 1985.
CaptionO. minor in safflower crop. Ethiopia, 1985.
Copyright©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
O. minor in safflower crop. Ethiopia, 1985.
HabitO. minor in safflower crop. Ethiopia, 1985.©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
O. minor flowering shoot. Ethiopia, 1985.
CaptionO. minor flowering shoot. Ethiopia, 1985.
Copyright©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
O. minor flowering shoot. Ethiopia, 1985.
FlowersO. minor flowering shoot. Ethiopia, 1985.©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
Larvae of Phytomyza orobanchia (Diptera) in stems of O. minor. Ethiopia, 1985.
TitleNatural enemy
CaptionLarvae of Phytomyza orobanchia (Diptera) in stems of O. minor. Ethiopia, 1985.
Copyright©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
Larvae of Phytomyza orobanchia (Diptera) in stems of O. minor. Ethiopia, 1985.
Natural enemyLarvae of Phytomyza orobanchia (Diptera) in stems of O. minor. Ethiopia, 1985.©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK


Top of page

Preferred Scientific Name

  • Orobanche minor Sm. (1797)

Preferred Common Name

  • common broomrape

Other Scientific Names

  • Orobanche abyssinnica A. Rich. (1851)
  • Orobanche apiculata Wallr. (1822)
  • Orobanche barbata Poir.
  • Orobanche concolor Duby
  • Orobanche crithmi Bertol.
  • Orobanche euglossa Rchb.f.
  • Orobanche grisebachii Reut. 1846
  • Orobanche hyalina Spruner ex Reut.
  • Orobanche laurina Bertol.
  • Orobanche livida Sendtn. ex Freyn
  • Orobanche pyrrha Rchb.f.
  • Orobanche unicolor Boreau
  • Orobanche yuccae Pa.Savi ex Bertol.

International Common Names

  • English: clover broomrape; lesser broomrape; small broomrape
  • Spanish: rabo de lobo
  • French: Orobanche du trefle; petit orobanche
  • Portuguese: erva-toira-menor

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Kleeteufel; Kleine sommerwurz
  • Italy: Orobanche del trifoglio
  • Japan: yase-utsubo
  • Netherlands: klavervreter
  • USA: hellroot

EPPO code

  • ORAGB (Orobanche grisebachii)
  • ORAMI (Orobanche minor)

Summary of Invasiveness

Top of page Orobanche minor is not a highly invasive plant but its introduction could result in a significant impact on certain crop species, especially forage legumes and tobacco.

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Scrophulariales
  •                         Family: Orobanchaceae
  •                             Genus: Orobanche
  •                                 Species: Orobanche minor

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page O. minor is in the section Osproleon of the genus Orobanche (together with species including O. crenata and O. cernua) with simple bracts, whereas the other important section Trionychon (containing O. ramosa and O. aegyptiaca) has additional bracteoles on the calyx.

The taxonomy and nomenclature of O. minor is a matter of some disagreement as it exists in a wide range of forms which are variously treated as varieties, sub-species or distinct species. Beck-Mannagetta (1930) recognises two varieties, var. genuine and var. neglecta, and many 'forma' but Flora Europaea (Chater and Webb, 1972) recognises no divisions. Benharrat et al. (2000) have recently used molecular techniques to confirm the distinctions between O. minor and the closely related taxa O. amethystea, O. loricata and O. hederae. Stace (1991) and Rumsey and Jury (1991) list varieties in the UK as: var. minor (on a wide range of hosts); var. flava with yellow corolla (on Hypochaeris radicata and related species); var. maritima with yellow bosses on the lower lip (on Daucus carota, Plantago coronopus and Ononis repens); and var. compositarum, with narrow erect corollas pressed to the stem (mainly on Crepis virens [C. capillaris] and other Compositae [Asteraceae]). Where morphological variants are associated with particular host species it is not known whether the morphology is affected by the host, nor whether these variants are truly host-specific.


Top of page Orobanche species are obligate parasites on the roots of various host plants and lack any chlorophyll. After germination and attachment to a host root, a tuberous 'nodule' develops, usually covered in 'crown roots', short roots up to 1-2 cm long of uncertain function. Some weeks after germination and development, the shoot erupts from this tuberous mass. In O. minor the stems are un-branched, yellowish-brown, often tinged with purple, generally 30-50 cm tall but sometimes exceeding 100 cm (especially in Ethiopia), glandular-villous or nearly glabrous. Leaves are represented by alternate brown scales, ovate to lanceolate, acuminate, 6-20 mm long. The inflorescence is an elongated spike, 10-30 cm long (longer in very large specimens) occupying about half the mature stem. Flowers are sessile, arranged spirally, each subtended by a single narrow, ovate-acuminate, glandular-hairy bract 10-15 mm long x 3-5 mm wide. The calyx, also glandular-hairy, is variable in form, usually with two pairs of acute, almost subulate lobes divided to about halfway laterally, but sometimes with only two undivided lobes. The lobes, or pairs of lobes, are completely separated by deep sinuses dorsally and ventrally. The corolla is 10-18 mm long, rarely to 20 mm, the tube more-or-less cylindrical, slightly curved downwards, opening out to lobes 2-3 mm long, to make a total width of about 10 mm at the mouth, glabrous to moderately glandular-hairy on the outside, generally glabrous within. Colour mainly pale whitish but with varying amounts of purple concentrated along the veins. Stamens inserted 2-4 mm from the base of the corolla tube, the filaments often hairy towards the base. Stigma 2-lobed, reddish-brown, rarely yellow. Capsule 7-10 mm long, splitting into two valves when ripe, shedding several hundred minute seeds, about 0.3 mm long with coarse reticulate marking.


Top of page O. minor has a wide natural distribution through most of Europe (excluding the extreme north), North Africa and western Asia. It has been introduced further afield in the USA, S. America, Australia, New Zealand and southern Africa. It is less clear whether occurrence in the highland tropics of eastern Africa is natural or introduced.

Distribution Table

Top 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/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


AzerbaijanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2003
Georgia (Republic of)PresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2003
IsraelPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2003
JapanRestricted distributionIntroduced Not invasive Shimizu et al., 2001
-HokkaidoRestricted distributionIntroduced Not invasive Shimizu et al., 2001
-HonshuRestricted distributionIntroduced Not invasive Shimizu et al., 2001
JordanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2003
LebanonPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2003
PakistanPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979
Saudi ArabiaPresentNativeHolm et al., 1997
SyriaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2003
TurkeyPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979


AlgeriaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2003
EgyptPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2003
EritreaWidespreadNative Not invasive Stroud and Parker, 1989
EthiopiaWidespreadNative Not invasive Stroud and Parker, 1989
KenyaPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979
LibyaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2003
MalawiRestricted distributionNative Not invasive Stapf, 1906
MauritiusPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
MoroccoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2003
MozambiqueRestricted distributionNativeStapf, 1906
South AfricaPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979
-Canary IslandsPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2003
SudanPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979
TanzaniaPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979
TunisiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2003
UgandaPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979
ZimbabwePresentNativeHolm et al., 1979

North America

-DelawarePresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-ARS, 2003
-FloridaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-ARS, 2003
-GeorgiaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-ARS, 2003
-MarylandPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-ARS, 2003
-New JerseyPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-ARS, 2003
-New YorkPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-ARS, 2003
-North CarolinaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-ARS, 2003
-OregonPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-ARS, 2003
-PennsylvaniaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-ARS, 2003
-South CarolinaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-ARS, 2003
-VermontPresentIntroducedGilman, 1999
-VirginiaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-ARS, 2003
-WashingtonPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-ARS, 2003
-West VirginiaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-ARS, 2003

South America

ChilePresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979


AlbaniaPresentNativeChater and Webb, 1972
AustriaPresentNativeChater and Webb, 1972
BelgiumPresentNativeChater and Webb, 1972
BulgariaPresentNativeChater and Webb, 1972
CyprusPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2003
Czechoslovakia (former)PresentNativeChater and Webb, 1972
DenmarkPresentIntroducedChater and Webb, 1972
FrancePresentNativeChater and Webb, 1972
-CorsicaPresentNativeChater and Webb, 1972
GermanyPresentNativeChater and Webb, 1972
GreecePresentNativeChater and Webb, 1972
HungaryPresentNativeChater and Webb, 1972
IrelandPresentIntroducedChater and Webb, 1972
ItalyPresentNativeChater and Webb, 1972
NetherlandsPresentNativeChater and Webb, 1972
PolandPresentIntroducedChater and Webb, 1972
PortugalPresentNativeChater and Webb, 1972
-AzoresPresentNativeChater and Webb, 1972
RomaniaPresentNativeChater and Webb, 1972
Russian Federation
-Central RussiaPresentNativeChater and Webb, 1972
-Northern RussiaPresentNativeChater and Webb, 1972
-Southern RussiaPresentNativeChater and Webb, 1972
SerbiaPresentNativeKojic et al., 2001
SpainPresentNativeChater and Webb, 1972
SwedenPresentIntroducedChater and Webb, 1972; Kraft, 1979
SwitzerlandPresentNativeChater and Webb, 1972
UKPresentNativeChater and Webb, 1972
UkrainePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2003
Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)PresentNativeChater and Webb, 1972


-New South WalesPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
-QueenslandPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
-TasmaniaPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
-VictoriaPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
New ZealandPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979

History of Introduction and Spread

Top of page

Introduced to the USA, Japan, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, and southern Africa but little available information on the dates or methods of introduction. It has not proved invasive in the USA but causes concern in South Africa (Henderson et al., 1987) and has been a serious pest of tobacco locally in New Zealand (James and Frater, 1977).

Frost and Musselman (1980) report that in a survey of herbarium material, O. minor was found to have a 116-year history in the USA. The species has been collected 98 times in 12 states plus the District of Columbia and appears to be established at maritime ports and along railway lines. The distribution pattern suggests repeated introductions from foreign sources and persistence in some areas. Most of the infestations in the USA have later been eradicated, either by removal of host plants or by fumigation. (Eplee et al., 1994).

In Chile, O. minor is known to have occurred since 1952 and has spread south to latitude 39°S from its original site at latitude 37°S (Norambuena et al., 1999).

In Japan, O. minor was first recorded in 1937. It has spread to much of the country but has not apparently caused serious concern (K. Yoneyama, Utsunomiya University, Utsunomiya 321-8505, Japan, personal communication).

Risk of Introduction

Top of page The risk of introduction is not high, as O. minor is not an especially frequent weed of crops and, even when it is, the chances of contamination of crop seed is moderate or low. However, any contamination that does occur may have serious consequences where it contravenes plant quarantine regulations.


Top of page O. minor is associated mainly with disturbed areas, crops, roadsides and waste places on a wide range of soil types in temperate and highland tropical areas. There is some tendency to association with alkaline soils but the local importance of O. minor on tobacco suggests that this is not a strict limitation. Although the other main group of root parasites, Striga spp., are favoured by low soil nitrogen, this is not generally true for Orobanche spp. Yoneyama et al. (2001) even report increased stimulation of O. minor germination by exudates from roots of Trifolium pratense at increasing levels of nitrate, although ammonium could be inhibitory. Phosphate also greatly reduced stimulant exudation, in keeping with field observations of reduced O. minor infestation in Trifolium subterraneum at higher phosphate levels (Southwood, 1971). Westwood and Foy (1999) also showed ammonium nitrogen to be directly inhibitory to radicle elongation in a number of Orobanche species, O. minor being the most susceptible to this effect. O. minor may occur in some irrigated crops but is not common in naturally wet habitats.

Habitat List

Top of page
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page O. minor parasitizes numerous species in a wide range of plant families, predominantly Leguminosae [Fabaceae], Umbelliferae, Solanaceae and Compositae [Asteraceae] but also many others including Malvaceae, Geraniaceae and Rosaceae. Musselman et al. (1981) found some evidence for the existence of biotypes with differing specificity; a population from a lettuce host parasitized tobacco and Trifolium species as well as lettuce, whereas populations from Trifolium species failed on lettuce and were very slow to emerge on tobacco. However, seeds of O. minor var. minor taken from plants parasitizing Eryngium maritimum were able to parasitize Hypochaeris radicata, Trifolium hybridum and T. pratense (Hipkin, 1992).

Where morphological variants are associated with particular host species it is not known whether the morphology is affected by the host, nor whether these variants are truly host-specific.

Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Vegetative growing stage

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

Top of page
Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
0 0 0 0

Air Temperature

Top of page
Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 8 29
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 20 40
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 0 15


Top of page
ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration010number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall1801300mm; lower/upper limits

Natural enemies

Top of page
Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Phytomyza orobanchia Herbivore Fruits/pods/Stems

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page By far the most significant insect enemy of O. minor is the dipteran Phytomyza orobanchia, associated with O. minor through most if not all of its natural range. Only a selection of countries are indicated in the Table. Kroschel and Klein (1999) indicate its occurrence in most of Europe, the Mediterranean, the Balkans and Central Asia. Reductions of total seed production resulting from natural infestations range from 11 to 90% and it has been exploited for biological control (see 'Control' section).

Orobanche species are affected by a wide range of fungal pathogens and many of those recorded by Linke et al. (1992) on O. crenata are likely to also occur on O. minor, in addition to Aspergillus niger and Alternaria alternata which were recorded on O. minor. The complete collapse of plants sometimes observed after attack by Phytomyza is often the result of fungal infection associated with the physical damage caused to the stems by Phytomyza larvae.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)

Seeds of O. minor are small enough to be blown some distance by wind but rarely further than a few metres. Movement in surface water is likely to occasionally provide longer-distance dispersal.

Vector Transmission (Biotic)

Movement by animals may occasionally occur but only in a sporadic way.

Agricultural Practices

By far the most important agent of local dispersal is farm machinery transporting contaminated soil from field to field and from farm to farm.

Accidental Introduction

Accidental introduction over long distances, including national boundaries, may occur when contaminated soil or crop seed is introduced.

Intentional Introduction

Intentional introduction is unlikely.

Plant Trade

Top of page
Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Bulbs/Tubers/Corms/Rhizomes seeds
Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx seeds
Fruits (inc. pods) seeds
Growing medium accompanying plants seeds
Leaves seeds
Roots seeds
Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches seeds
True seeds (inc. grain) seeds
Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Seedlings/Micropropagated plants

Impact Summary

Top of page
Animal/plant collections None
Animal/plant products None
Biodiversity (generally) None
Crop production Negative
Environment (generally) None
Fisheries / aquaculture None
Forestry production None
Human health None
Livestock production None
Native fauna None
Native flora None
Rare/protected species None
Tourism None
Trade/international relations Negative
Transport/travel None


Top of page The effects of Orobanche species on their hosts are somewhat less severe than those of Striga species. Damage to the host in the studies reported so far generally appears to be proportional to the dry weight of the parasite, so that the total dry weight of the host/parasite combination equals the weight of the un-infested host. Damage from O. crenata on faba bean may be greater than this under dry conditions, apparently due to some enhancement of drought stress, but this has not been reported for O. minor. Apart from yield reduction, O. minor can greatly reduce the value of clover and lucerne seed crops due to the danger of seed contamination. In Chile, it is seriously harming exports of Trifolium pratense seed and 6,000 ha on 500 farms are potentially endangered (Norambuena at al., 1999). It has been reported as killing ornamental species including Pelargonium x hortorum and Campanula portenschlagiana in Ireland (Murphy, 1972).

O. minor is recorded by Holm et al. (1979, 1997) as a 'serious' weed of beans and peas in Egypt, of legumes in Czechoslovakia, and of clover, rape and tobacco in New Zealand; also a 'principal' weed of legumes in Italy and Pakistan, and in grassland in Uganda. It is also common in lucerne in Turkey, in legumes in Hungary and vegetables in Saudi Arabia. The most widespread hosts appear to be the forage legumes (Trifolium spp., Medicago sativa and Lotus corniculatus). In Ethiopia it may cause local damage to safflower, sunflower, tobacco, noug (Guizotia abyssinica), lettuce, groundnut, faba bean and tobacco, as well as to clovers (Parker, 1992).

In some countries, the importance of O. minor as a weed has declined with the reduced cultivation of Trifolium seed crops, as in the Netherlands (ter Borg et al., 1994), and in the UK (Parker and Riches, 1993).

Environmental Impact

Top of page No significant environmental impact has been reported for O. minor.

Impact: Biodiversity

Top of page No significant impact on biodiversity has been reported for O. minor.

Social Impact

Top of page No significant social impact has been reported for O. minor.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Invasive in its native range
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult/costly to control


Top of page No uses of this species are known.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page O. minor is distinguished from the important weedy species O. ramosa and O. aegyptiaca by lack of branching and the absence of bracteoles. There is greater difficulty distinguishing it from other members of the section Osproleon, especially from dried material. O. crenata is close to O. minor in many respects but is larger in most of its parts and its flowers are almost invariably over 20 mm long and over 12 mm across. In O. cernua (including O. cumana), the flowers are similar in size to those of O. minor, but when fresh they are clearly distinguished by the contrast between a white tube and deeply coloured lobes. Dried material shows less contrast, but dissection of the corolla tube shows the stamens of those two species to have glabrous filaments inserted at least 5 mm from the base of the tube.

Benharrat et al. (2000) have recently used molecular techniques to confirm the morphological distinctions between O. minor and the closely related taxa O. amethystea, O. loricata and O. hederae. For a full monograph see Beck-Mannagetta (1930). For keys which include all the main species of concern see Chater and Webb (1972) and Parker and Riches (1993).

Prevention and Control

Top 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.

Cultural Control

Infestation may be prevented by phytosanitation, aimed at preventing the spread of viable seeds. This may involve 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 from Orobanche-infested plants (Jacobsohn, 1984). The use of Orobanche-infested crop seeds should also be avoided.

Trap crops and catch crops are used in the control of some other Orobanche species. These stimulate germination of Orobanche in the soil, in order to deplete the seed reserve. Trap crops promote Orobanche seed germination but do not support parasitism; catch crops support parasitism but are destroyed prior to Orobanche flowering. Examples of trap crops for Orobanche include flax (Ramaiah, 1987), mung beans, maize and sorghum (Foy et al., 1989). A catch crop that has been effective in Egypt is berseem (Trifolium alexandrinum), harvested repeatedly for forage to prevent full development and seeding of the parasite (Al-Menoufi, 1994). Kropac (1973) has also reported that a catch crop of Trifolium repens and Lolium multiflorum was effective in eliminating seeds of Orobanche spp., including O. minor. Though these methods have in some cases proved successful, the use of trap and catch crops has limitations for two reasons: (a) local strains of the parasites may differ in their response; (b) it takes several years of trap or catch cropping to reduce parasite seed populations to non-damaging levels.

Frater (1975) proposes deep ploughing as a control measure, depending on the observation that infestation on tobacco in New Zealand arises from shallow soil layers.

Fertilization, especially phosphate and ammonium nitrogen, can help to suppress O. minor (Yoneyama et al., 2001). Westwood and Foy (1999) show that the levels of ammonium required to inhibit O. minor are non-toxic to a range of likely host crops.

Host-plant resistance is an important approach to the control of several other species of Orobanche, but there is no known instance of the selection of crop varieties resistant to O. minor.

Mechanical Control

Hand-pulling of Orobanche flowering stems can be useful, preferably at an early stage before maximum damage has been caused, but stems should immediately be removed from the field as they may continue developing flowers and spreading seeds even without being connected to the host. Hand-weeding is very important, especially when only a few Orobanche plants develop in a field. This can prevent further spread of the parasite and avoid damage.

Chemical Control

Soil fumigation with metham sodium [metam] has been used with moderate success against O. minor in New Zealand (James and Frater, 1977).

There are few herbicides that have an adequate margin of selectivity against Orobanche species and none have been developed specifically for control of O. minor. Glyphosate can be used for control of O. crenata in faba bean and some other crops if applied at low rates (Garcia-Torres, 1994). The imidazolinone herbicides have shown promise applied in various ways for control of Orobanche spp. in legumes and sunflower, especially imazethapyr pre-emergence, post-emergence or as seed dressings in legumes, and imazapyr in lentil and sunflower (e.g. Garcia-Torres and Lopez-Granados, 1991a, b; Garcia Torres et al., 1995, 1996, 1998). A number of these options are likely to be suitable for control of O. minor in the relevant crops, but these compounds will need to be used with care to avoid the development of herbicide-resistant populations of Orobanche. For a broad review of control options for Orobanche spp., see Parker and Riches (1993).

The use of transgenic crops engineered with target-site herbicide resistance is perhaps 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 was achieved without affecting the crop or its yield (Joel et al., 1995). These techniques have yet to be applied to the control of O. minor, but when the relevant herbicide-resistant crops become available they should prove valuable.

Biological Control

The broomrape-fly Phytomyza orobanchia was widely used for Orobanche control in the Soviet Union and some East European countries in the 1960s and 1970s (Girling et al., 1979). Infested Orobanche shoots were collected during the growing season, dried and stored under controlled temperature and humidity over the winter and released from specially constructed 'phytomyzaria' which allowed separation and destruction of the smaller hyperparasites as they emerged. The topic has recently been reviewed in some detail and there has been some renewed interest in its exploitation (see Kroschel and Klein, 1999; Klein and Kroschel, 2002). These authors provide detailed reviews of the biology of the insect, its very large number of hyper-parasites (at least 24 are listed) and the early elaborate systems for its exploitation in eastern Europe, where success was often over 90% in terms of reduced Orobanche seed production in the treated fields, but problems had arisen from interference by hyperparasites and also from insecticide use. They emphasise that repeated releases are needed over several seasons to overcome the problem of the long-lived seed bank. Recent attempts at introduction of P. orobanchia to Chile as a classical biocontrol agent against introduced infestations of O. minor and O. ramosa are showing promise (Normabuena et al., 1999, 2001).

Orobanche-specific forms of Fusarium oxysporum have shown promise for control of some other Orobanche spp. in tobacco and in sunflower (Parker and Riches, 1993). Ulocladium atrum has also appeared promising against O. crenata (Linke et al., 1992), but neither of these agents has yet been developed for practical use.

Integrated Control

Ideas for integrated control of Orobanche species are reviewed by Pieterse et al. (1992) and by Parker and Riches (1993). Approaches for possible inclusion in an integrated control programme include general techniques of crop rotation, flooding, fumigation, solarization, prevention of seeding and biocontrol, as well as more crop-specific methods including crop resistance, herbicides and time of planting.


Top of page

Al-Menoufi OA, 1994. The Orobanche problem in Egypt. 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, 663-671

Beck-Mennagetta G, 1930. Orobanchaceae. In: Engler HGA, ed. Das Pflanzenreich, 96(IV-261):1-275.

Benharrat H, Delavault P, Theodet C, Figureau C, Thalouarn P, 2000. rbcL Plastid pseudogene as a tool for Orobanche (subsection Minores) identification. Plant Biology, 2(1):34-39; 34 ref.

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.

Dorr I, Kollman R, 1975. Structural features of parasitism of Orobanche. 2. Differentiation of assimilate conducting elements within the haustorium. Protoplasma, 83(3):185-201

Eplee RE, Fay CL, Norris R, 1994. Orobanche infestations in the USA. Biology and management of Orobanche. In: Pieterse AH, Verkleij JAC, Borg SJ ter, eds. Proceedings of the third international workshop on Orobanche and related Striga research, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 8-12 November 1993. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Royal Tropical Institute, 611-613

Foy CL, Jain R, Jacobsohn R, 1989. Recent approaches for chemical control of broomrape (Orobanche spp.). Reviews of Weed Science, 4:123-152

Frater KC, 1975. Broomrape control. New Zealand Tobacco Growers Journal, November:10

Frost CC, Musselman LJ, 1979. Studies of the distribution and floral biology of Orobanche minor. Proceedings of the 2nd International Symposium on Parasitic Weeds, North Carolina, 1979., Supplement:3

Frost CC, Musselman LJ, 1980. Clover broomrape (Orobanche minor) in the United States. Weed Science, 28(1):119-122

Garcia Torres L, 1994. Progress in Orobanche control, an overview. In: Pieterse AH, Verkleij JAC, Borg SJ ter, eds. Biology and management of Orobanche. Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Orobanche and Related Striga Research, Amsterdam, Netherlands: KIT, 390-399.

Garcia-Torres L, Castejon-Munoz M, Lopez-Granados F, Jurado-Exposito M, 1995. Imazapyr applied postemergence in sunflower (Helianthus annuus) for broomrape (Orobanche cernua) control. Weed Technology, 9:819-824.

Garcia-Torres L, Jurado-Exposito M, Castejon-Munoz M, Lopez-Granados F, 1996. Herbicide-treated crop seeds for control of Orobanche spp. In: Moreno MT, Cubero JI, eds. Advances in Parasitic Plant Research, Sevilla, Spain: Junta de Andalucia, 699-715.

Garcia-Torres L, Lopez-Granados F, 1991. Control of broomrape (Orobanche crenata Forsk.) in broad bean (Vicia faba L.) with imidazolinones and other herbicides. Weed Research (Oxford), 31(4):227-235

Garcia-Torres L, Lopez-Granados F, 1991. Progress of herbicide control of broomrape (Orobanche spp.) in legumes and sunflower (Helinanthus annuus L.). In: Ransom JK, Musselman LJ, Worsham AD, Parker C, eds. Proceedings of the Fifth international symposium of parasitic weeds, Nairobi, Kenya, 24-30 June 1991. Nairobi, Kenya: CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center), 306-309

Gilman AV, 1999. The vascular flora of Caledonia County, Vermont, USA. Rhodora, 101(908):360-418; 53 ref.

Girling DJ, Greathead DJ, Mohyuddin AI, Sankaran T, 1979. The potential for biological control in the suppression of parasitic weeds. Biocontrol News and Information, sample issue:7-16

Graham, RA, 1957. Orobanchaceae. In: Turrill WB, Milne-Redhead E, eds. Flora of Tropical East Africa. London, UK: Crown Agents for Overseas Governments.

Henderson M, Fourie DMC, Wells MJ, Henderson L, 1987. Declared Weeds and Alien Invader Plants in South Africa. Bulletin 413. Pretoria, South Africa: Department of Agriculture and Water Supply.

Hipkin CR, 1992. Host range and specificity of Orobanche minor Sm. on Crymlyn Burrows. Watsonia, 19(2):113-120

Holm LG, Doll J, Holm E, Pancho JV, Herberger JP, 1997. World Weeds: Natural Histories and Distribution. New York, USA: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Holm LG, Pancho JV, Herberger JP, Plucknett DL, 1979. A geographical atlas of world weeds. New York, USA: John Wiley and Sons, 391 pp.

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.

James RW, Frater KC, 1977. The control of broomrape (Orobanche minor) in flue-cured tobacco. New Zealand Tobacco Growers Journal, October:10, 11, 13

Joel DM, Kleifeld Y, Losner-Goshen D, Herzlinger G, Gressel J, 1995. Transgenic crops against parasites. Nature (London), 374(6519):220-221

Johnson AW, Roseberry G, Parker C, 1976. A novel approach to Striga and Orobanche control using synthetic germination stimulants. Weed Research, 16:223-227.

Jones M, 1991. Seed mass and seed production in British Orobanche species. Proceedings of the 5th international symposium of parasitic weeds, Nairobi, Kenya, 24-30 June 1991 [edited by Ransom, J.K.; Musselman, L.J.; Worsham, A.D.; Parker, C.] Nairobi, Kenya; CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center), 447-453

Jones M, 1991. Studies on the pollination of Orobanche species in the British Isles. Progress in Orobanche research. Proceedings of the international workshop on Orobanche research, Obermarchtal, Germany, 19-22 August 1989., 6-17; 18 ref.

Kebreab E, Murdoch AJ, 1999. A model of the effects of a wide range of constant and alternating temperatures on seed germination of four Orobanche species. Annals of Botany, 84:549-557.

Kebreab E, Murdoch AJ, 1999. Effect of temperature and humidity on the longevity of Orobanche seeds. Weed Research Oxford, 39:199-211.

Klein O, Kroschel J, 2002. Biological control of Orobanche spp. with Phytomyza orobanchia, a review. BioControl, 47(3):245-277; many ref.

Kojic M, Masirevic S, Jovanovic D, 2001. Distribution and biodiversity of broomrape (Orobanche L.) worldwide and in Serbia. Helia, 24(35):73-91.

Kraft J, 1979. The genus Orobanche in Sweden. Svensk Botanisk Tidskrift, 73(1):27-37

Kropac Z, 1973. Weedy Orobanche spp. of Czechoslovakia and the range of their parasitism. Symposium on Parasitic Weeds, Malta, 35-43.

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.

Linke KH, Schneibel C, Saxena MC, Sauerborn J, 1992. Fungi occurring on Orobanche spp. and their preliminary evaluation for Orobanche control. Tropical Pest Management, 38:127-130.

Morozov IV, Foy CL, Westwood JH, 2000. Small broomrape (Orobanche minor) and egyptian broomrape (Orobanche aegyptiaca) parasitization of red clover (Trifolium pratense). Weed Technology, 14(2):312-320; 27 ref.

Murphy D, 1972. Killer parasite. Gardeners Chronicle, 172(13): 23.

Musselman LJ, Parker C, 1982. Preliminary host ranges of some strains of economically important broomrapes (Orobanche). Economic Botany, 36(3):270-273

Musselman LJ, Parker C, Dixon N, 1981. Notes on autogamy and flower structure in agronomically important species of Striga (Scrophulariaceae) and Orobanche (Orobanchaceae). Beitrage zur Biologie der Pflanzen, 56:329-343.

Norambuena H, Diaz J, Kroschel J, Klein O, Esacobar S, 2001. Rearing and field release of Phytomyza orobanchia on Orobanche ramosa in Chile. In: Fer A, Thalouarn P, Joel DM, Musselman LJ, Parker C, Kerkleij, eds. Proceedings of the Seventh International Parasitic Weed Symposium, Nantes, 2001, 258-261.

Norambuena H, Kroschel J, Klein O, 1999. Introduction of Phytomyza orobanchia for biocontrol of Orobanche spp. in Chile. In: Kroschel J, Abderabihi M, Betz H, eds. Advances in Parasitic Weed Control at Ob-farm lkevel Vol. II. Joint Action to Control Orobanche in the WANA Region. Weikersheim, Germany: Margraf Verlag, 197-204.

Parker C, 1992. Orobanche and Alectra species in Ethiopia. In: Rezene Fessehaie, Parker C, eds. Problems and Control of Parasitic Weeds in Ethiopia. Proceedings of the Second Ethiopian Weed Science Workshop, Addis Abeba, September, 1988. Addis Abeba, Ethiopia: Ethiopian Weed Science Council, 53-55.

Parker C, Riches CR, 1993. Parasitic weeds of the world: biology and control. Wallingford, UK; CAB International, xx + 332 pp.

Pieterse AH, Garcia-Torres L, Al-Menoufi OA, Linke K-H, ter Borg SJ, 1992. Integrated control of the parasitic angiosperm Orobanche (broomrape). Paper presented at the International Food Legume Conference II, Cairo, 9 pp.

Ramaiah KV, 1987. Control of Striga and Orobanche species a review. Proceedings of the 4th international symposium on parasitic flowering plants Marburg, German Federal Republic, 637-664

Rumsey FJ, Jury SL, 1991. An account of Orobanche L. in Britain and Ireland. Watsonia, 18(3):257-295

Shimizu N, Morita H, Hirota S, 2001. Illustrated Book of Naturalized Plants in Japan. Tokyo, Japan: Zennokyo.

Southwood OR, 1971. The effect of superphosphate application, 2,4-DB and grazing on broomrape (Orobanche minor Sm.) in a subterranean clover pasture. Weed Research, 11:240-246.

Spelce DL, Musselman LJ, 1981. Orobanche minor germination with strigol and GR compounds. Zeitschrift fur Pflanzenphysiologie, 104(3):281-283

Stace C, 1991. New Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Stapf O, 1906. Order XCIII. Orobanchaceae. In: Dyer T, ed. Flora of Tropical Africa Vol. IV Section II Hydrophyllaceae to Pedalineae, 462-468.

Stroud A, Parker C, 1989. A Weed Identification Guide for Ethiopia. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization.

ter Borg SJ, Naber H, Bezemer TM, Zaitoun FMF, 1994. Orobanche minor in the Netherlands: an agricultural problem became an endangered species. In: Pieterse AH, Verkleij JAC, ter Borg SJ, eds, Biology and management of Orobanche. Proceedings of the third international workshop on Orobanche and related Striga research, Amsterdam, Netherlands, November 1993, 614-618.

Timko MP, Flore CS, Riopel JL, 1989. Control of the germination and early development in parasitic angiosperms. In: Teylorson RB, ed. Recent Advances in the Development and Germination of Seeds. New York, USA: Plenum Press, 225-240.

USDA-ARS, 2003. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory.

Westwood JH, Foy CL, 1999. Influence of nitrogen on germination and early development of broomrape (Orobanche spp.). Weed Science, 47:2-7.

Yokota T, Sakai H, Okuno K, Yoneyama K, Takeuchi Y, 1998. Alectrol and orobanchol, germination stimulants for Orobanche minor, from its host red clover. Phytochemistry, 49(7):1967-1973; 15 ref.

Yoneyama K, Takeuchi Y, Yokota T, 2001. Production of clover broomrape seed germination stimulants by red clover root requires nitrate but is inhibited by phosphate and ammonium. Physiologia Plantarum, 112(1):25-30; 38 ref.

Distribution Maps

Top of page
You can pan and zoom the map
Save map