Small broomrape is a parasite of several broadleaf plant species. Consequences of small broomrape infestation in host cropping systems include seed contamination, reduction in crop seed yield, and host plant death. The effect of small broomrape parasitism on the biomass partitioning of its primary host, red clover, has not been documented. Greenhouse experiments were conducted to determine the relationship between small broomrape and red clover biomass accumulation. Total biomass of parasitized red clover plants was 15 to 51% less than nonparasitized red clover plants. Small broomrape parasitism reduced the amount of dry matter allocated to red clover inflorescences by 50 to 80%. Small broomrape dry matter accumulation was strongly related to total red clover–small broomrape dry matter accumulation. Small broomrape attachment number per red clover plant was a poor indicator of relative small broomrape dry weight accumulation. The results of this study indicated that small broomrape accumulated resources from red clover at the greatest expense to the economically important reproductive tissues.
Nomenclature: Small broomrape, Orobanche minor Sm. ORAMI; red clover, Trifolium pratense L. TRFPR