Fluorescein diacetate (FDA) was investigated as a potential viability stain for seeds of holoparasitic broomrapes Orobanche and Phelipanche (Orobanchaceae), using four weedy and two non-weedy taxa. FDA viabilities were compared with the currently used 2,3,5-triphenyl tetrazolium chloride (TTC) test, and in vitro germination induced by the strigolactone analogue GR-24. Viable FDA-stained seeds were characterised by bright yellow-green fluorescence under 450-490 nm blue light. These viable seeds could be discriminated from non-viable seeds, in which low levels of fluorescence, similar to non-stained control seeds were observed. FDA viabilities were not significantly different from those obtained using the TTC stain; however, viability values for both stains were consistently higher than levels of artificially induced germination. Positive TTC-staining showed continuous variation that was difficult to interpret. Nevertheless, the TTC test does not involve grinding seeds, and therefore probably remains a practical alternative to FDA for screening soil samples contaminated with Orobanche and Phelipanche seeds, which indicates different applications for the two viability tests. Interestingly, the strigolactone analogue GR-24 only induced germination in O. crenata, P. ramosa and O. minor, suggesting a high specificity towards this germination inducer among the species investigated. We suggest that FDA-staining provides a potential alternative to the currently used TTC test for seed viability assays for Orobanche and Phelipanche, and other parasitic weeds which are an obstacle to crop cultivation.