Plants of
South Australia
Orobanche cernua var. australiana
Orobanchaceae
Australian broomrape
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Rare
Vulnerable
Endangered
Critically endangered
Extinct
Data deficient
Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
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Oodnadatta
Renmark
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Keith
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock painting: 1.

Etymology

Orobanche, from the Greek 'orobos', meaning vetch and 'ancho', meaning to strangle, referring to the parasitic characteristics of this plant. Cernua, means nodding, possibly referring to the habit of the flower; ascending at first and then decurved. Australiana, from the Latin 'australis', meaning southern, alluding to the variety distribution in the southern part of Australia.

Distribution and status

Found scattered across the eastern half of South Australia growing in sand dunes and sandy creek beds; parasitic on native Senecio species. Also found in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Native. Rare in South Australia. Rare in the other States.
Herbarium regions: Lake Eyre, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

An erect brown herb to 50cm tall, parasitising on the roots of species of Senecio. The early stage is similar to a young asparagus. Flowers are purple and tubular along the stems, appearing in spring. Fruits are brown papery capsules along the stem, containing numerous fine seeds. Seeds are very fine brown seeds less than 0.5 mm long, with a net-like mesh pattern on the outside.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between September and December. Carefully break off the stems with the developed capsules, turning brown and place in a paper bag to prevent the seeds falling out. Place the stems in a tray and cover with some paper and leave to dry for at least a week, then shake the stems carefully in a tray to dislodge the fine seeds from the capsules. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place. From two collections, the seed viability was high, at 100%.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA37,300 (0.46 g)17-Sep-2006DEM5391A
Yorke Peninsula
1-Aug-2007100%+5°C, -18°C
BGA 
MSB
200,000 (2.6 g)
200,000 (2.6 g)
50+18-Nov-2006DJD603
Yorke Peninsula
1-Aug-2007100%+5°C, -18°C
BGA880,000 (16.69 g)30+21-Oct-2016DJD3540
Lake Eyre
1-Nov-2017N/C-18°C, -80°C
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.