Orobanche ramosa L. subsp. mutelii (F.W. Shultz) Cout. is a holoparasitic plant of Mediterranean origin that infects a range of crop species in its native and introduced ranges. This species was first recorded in the Murray Mallee district of South Australia in 1992. As the parasitic weed had the potential to cause considerable yield losses in crop hosts, we assessed the potential host range of the South Australian strain by screening a broad range of grain, pulse, oilseed, pasture and vegetable crop cultivars, and native and introduced non-crop species. For crop species, cultivars in the Brassicaceae were classified as high risk hosts. The tested cultivars stimulated a high proportion of parasitic seed to germinate and consistently supported the parasite through to reproductive maturity. Many tested Solanaceae and Cucurbitaceae species were poor hosts, although some crops in these families are severely impacted by O. ramosa overseas. Of the tested legumes, common vetch was the most susceptible host, medics and clovers presented a low to medium risk of infection, and field peas were not hosts. Native and introduced hosts were most commonly annuals in the Asteraceae and Brassicaceae families, and are also the most frequently occurring hosts of O. ramosa subsp. mutelii in South Australia. Experimental host testing is useful for predicting agricultural enterprises that may be at risk from the spread of O. ramosa subsp. mutelii and identifying non-crop hosts that contribute to the persistence of the parasite, acting as source populations for crop infection.
Cite this article as:
Virtue, J., Prider, J. and Williams, A. (2014). Host range of branched broomrape (Orobanche ramosa subsp. mutelii) in South Australia. Plant Protection Quarterly 29(2), 46-54.