UC IPM Online UC ANR home page UC IPM home page

UC IPM Home

SKIP navigation

 

How to Manage Pests

Identification: Weed Photo Gallery

Branched Broomrape

Scientific name: Orobanche ramosa (Broomrape Family: Orobanchaceae)

Click on image to enlarge

Life stages of Broomrape mature plant plant in flower infestation in tomato

Branched broomrape is an annual and sometimes perennial parasitic plant that has no chlorophyll and lacks conspicuous leaves. It attaches to plant roots and is visible above ground only when flowering and inhabits ornamental and vegetable crop fields and margins, especially tomato fields. Branched broomrape is found in the San Francisco Bay region, northern San Joaquin Valley, eastern South Coast Ranges, and Southwestern regions up to an elevation of about 160 feet (50 m). It is an A-rated (“A”–Eradication, containment, rejection, or other holding action at the state-county level. Quarantine interceptions to be rejected or treated at any point in the state) noxious weed in California. If you find it, contact your agricultural commissioner.

Seedling

Seedlings grow below ground.

Young plant

The young plant looks like a yellowish spear or spike.

Mature plant

The mature plant is 4 to 12 inches (10–30 cm) tall. The aboveground parts are pale to bright yellow. Stems are slender, covered with very short glandular hairs, and have many branches arising from the base. Leaves are reduced to scales that alternate along the stem.

Flower

Branched broomrape blooms from October through November. Flowers resemble small snapdragons, ranging in color from white to blue or violet. Twenty or more flowers cluster to form a spike-shaped flower head. Upper flowers are stalkless and lower flowers are short stalked. Stems and flower heads are covered with very short glandular hairs.

Fruit

The fruit is a one-chambered capsule that opens by two valves at the tip.

Seed

Seeds are angular to egg shaped and yellowish brown, with a dull and netlike surface.

Propagation

Branched broomrape reproduces by seed, which spread in water and in contaminated soil.

More information


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
All contents copyright © 2014 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

For noncommercial purposes only, any Web site may link directly to this page. FOR ALL OTHER USES or more information, read Legal Notices. Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual solutions to specific pest problems. See our Home page, or in the U.S., contact your local Cooperative Extension office for assistance.

Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

Accessibility   /PMG/WEEDS/broomrape.html revised: January 8, 2014. Contact webmaster.