Summary. Plants that parasitise other plants have been among the most difficult plant groups to fit into classification systems due to their modified biology and their often highly reduced morphology. They are now considered to be found in about 16 families of flowering plants. Here we summarise current ideas about their relationships and provide information about their characteristics and utilisation. A major consequence of the revised classification of Orobanchaceae and related families has been the break-up of the traditional Scrophulariaceae, and here we summarise the new classification, focusing on genera of horticultural interest.