Orobanche aegyptiaca, Egyptian broomrape, is a plant which is an obligate holoparasite from the family Orobanchaceae with a complex lifecycle. This parasite is most common in the Middle East and has a wide host range including many economically important crops.
DescriptionAnnual, usually glandular-pubescent, (10-)20-50 cm tall, often regularly and branched from below with elongated branches.
Scales distant, 5-15 mm long, lanceolate, thickish, pubescent to glabrescent.
Spikes lax, with lower flowers distant and subsessile, up to 25 cm long, hardly or not tapering above.
Bracts lanceolate to ovate-oblong, hardly reaching the size of calyx, ± similar to scales. Bracteoles linear, shorter than calyx.
Calyx 8-14 mm long, campanulate, more dissected dorsally, 4(-5)-toothed, with teeth ± as long as the tube, pubescent.
Corolla usually 20-35 mm long, pubescent outside, infundibuliform, ± whitish below and blue or lilac above; tube slightly curved and broader above, constricted below the middle and at the insertion point of stamens; upper lip short, 2-lobed, erect; lower lip ± equally 3-lobed with rounded or subrounded lobes; margins very minutely denticulate to almost entire.
Staminal filaments ± pubescent at base; anthers cells woolly along the sutures.
Stigma with 2, semiorbicular lobes. Capsule c. 10 mm long, oblong to subspheroid, acuminate, glabrous; seeds c. 0.7 mm long, subglobose to broadly ovoid, reticulate.
A variable species in flower size and form, pubescence and stature. Smaller flowered forms have often been confused with Orobanche ramosa L., but the different branching habit and the very shallowly lobed, almost straight corolla are distinctive. Branching is irregular and unequal, fairly distant with corolla c. 15 mm long in true Orobanche ramosa.Hooker f. (l.c.) has rightly pointed out the close relationship between his ‘Orobanche ramosa’ and Orobanche indicaBuch-Ham. ex Roxb. which is conspecific with Orobanche aegyptiacaPers.