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Dieren en planten

Water en land

Mens en Milieu

Common broomrape


10 to 60 centimeters


flowers: ranging from light yellow to brownish
stem: yellow to straw colored


June through August



life span:


  • Dut: Klavervreter
  • Lat: Orobanche minor
  • Eng: Common broomrape
  • Ger: Kleine Sommerwurz
Lesser broomrape, Ecomare

Common broomrape

Common broomrape is a parasite. You won't find any green in this plant because it contains no chlorophyll. That is why it needs a host plant in order to obtain the necessary nutrients to grow. Its favorite host plant is red clover, although it can also parasitize on all kinds of pea family species and occasionally other random plants.

  • How does a parasite plant work?

    The seeds from the broomrape can lay in the ground for years before germinating, waiting for the right host to appear. The roots of the host plant send out a material which stimulates the seed of the parasite to start growing. Once attached to the host with its root-like growth, broomrape steals water and nutrients, which of course is not favorable for the host plant. Should seed from common broomrape be found in a batch of clover seed, then the batch will be rejected. Farmers consider this plant a terrible weed.

  • Distribution and habitat

    Common broomrape comes originally from the Mediterranean Sea region and southern Europe. How and when it came to the Netherlands is unclear but probably in the 19th century together with clover seed. Common broomrape is presently found in the delta region, on Texel and south of the major rivers. It is rare everywhere except locally in Zeeland. The plant grows on clay soil, together with a host plant of course. Thanks to the river clay in the sea dikes, it also grows on Texel.