Alert: Branched Broomrape

Branched broomrape (Orobanche ramosa) in flower.

Landowners especially in SA have been urged to get to know the characteristics of a weed described as the "hidden threat to our grains industry".

This is the exotic parasitic branched broomrape which has been found in SA and which has the capacity to quickly spread elsewhere.

According to Paul Jupp of SA's Animal and Plant Control Commission, branched broomrape is responsible for major losses overseas in oilseed, pulse and vegetable crops. It parasitises these crops and also a range of weeds, and therefore may contaminate wheat, barley and other cereals.

Many of Australia's important trading partners have branched broomrape on their prohibited import list.

The weed, which is the subject of an extensive search and eradication program in SA, spends most of its life underground, emerging in spring to produce up to 100,000 dust-like seeds per plant which can be spread in produce, machinery and stock. Purplish flowers are carried on light-coloured stems which branch from the base.

Contact: Mr Paul Jupp 08 8303 9500