from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A name given to parasitic leafless plants of the genus Orobanche, and in the United States to species of the similar allied genera Phelipæa and Aphyllon. See Orobanchaceæ.
  • noun Same as pale or one-flowered broom-rape.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • (Bot.) A genus (Orobanche) of parasitic plants of Europe and Asia. They are destitute of chlorophyll, have scales instead of leaves, and spiked flowers, and grow attached to the roots of other plants, as furze, clover, flax, wild carrot, etc. The name is sometimes applied to other plants related to this genus, as Aphyllon uniflorumand Aphyllon Ludovicianum.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word broom-rape.


  • A large and particularly fleshy broom-rape, recently flowering, festered unpleasantly everywhere.

    The Leicestershires beyond Baghdad

  • The London rocket (_Sisymbrium irio_) occurs only in the old towns of Hertford and Ware; the true oxlip (_Primula elatior_) near the head of the River Stort; a very rare broom-rape, _Orobanche cærulea_, at


  • When robbery becomes flagrant, Nature brands sinners in the vegetable kingdom by taking away their color, and perhaps their leaves, as in the case of the broom-rape and Indian Pipe; but the fair faces of the gerardias and foxgloves give no hint of the petty thefts committed under cover of darkness in the soil below.

    Wild Flowers Worth Knowing

  • Such plants, however, as the broom-rape, Pine Sap, beech-drops, the Indian Pipe, and the dodder -- which marks the lowest stage of degradation of them all -- appear among their race branded with the mark of crime as surely as was Cain.

    Wild Flowers Worth Knowing

  • Branded a sinner, through its loss of leaves and honest green coloring matter (chlorophyll), the Pine Sap stands among the disreputable gang of thieves that includes its next of kin the Indian Pipe, the broom-rape, dodder, coral-root, and beech-drops.

    Wild Flowers Worth Knowing

  • If we take for instance the broom-rape or _Orobanche_, or some other pale parasite, we explain their occurrence in families of plants with green leaves, by the loss of the leaves and of the green color.

    Species and Varieties, Their Origin by Mutation

  • Nearly related to the broom-rape is this less attractive pirate, a taller, brownish-purple plant, with a disagreeable odor, whose erect, branching stem without leaves is still furnished with brownish scales, the remains of what were once green leaves in virtuous ancestors, no doubt.

    Wild Flowers Worth Knowing

  • They were the petals and calyxes of that strange flower, lathraea, of the broom-rape family.

    Wanderings by southern waters, eastern Aquitaine

  • It is a grand place for heath, ferns, and broom-rape, with daffodils in a field at the end.

    John Keble's Parishes

  • We see how the dodder vine lost both leaf and roots after it consented to live wholly by theft of its hard-working host's juices through suckers that penetrate to the vitals; how the Indian Pipe's blanched face tells the story of guilt perpetrated under cover of darkness in the soil below; how the broom-rape and beech-drops lost their honest green color; and, finally, the foxgloves show us plants with their faces so newly turned toward the path of perdition, their larceny so petty, that only the expert in criminal botany cases condemns them.

    Wild Flowers Worth Knowing


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Calm down, it's just a plant name.

    December 9, 2010

  • I'm glad we don't use it in the ecology labs I teach. My students giggle when they hear "seminal".

    December 9, 2010