Parentucellia viscosa (yellow glandweed)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Biology and Ecology
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Impact Summary
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Parentucellia viscosa (L.) Caruel
Preferred Common Name
- yellow glandweed
Other Scientific Names
- Bartsia viscosa L.
International Common Names
- English: yellow bartsia
Local Common Names
- English: eyebright; sticky bartsia; sticky parentucellia; stickyweed; tarweed; yellow bartsia
- Denmark: Gul bartsie
- Germany: Gelbe Bartsie; Gelbe Bartsie
- Italy: perlina maggiore
- Norway: Gulltopp
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
The native range of the hemiparasitic herb, P. viscosa, extends from the Mediterranean to southeast Asia, and includes Western Europe (Mabberley, 1997). From there it has spread, probably often as a contaminant in grass seed, to North America, parts of South America, Australasia and to other parts of Europe. In the British Isles, the species has increased northwards and eastwards, largely through introductions from seed mixtures. In California in the USA, P. viscosa invades wetland prairies along the coast and pastures in the Sierra Nevada and is especially invasive on dune wetlands at the Humboldt Bay Wildlife Refuge. P. viscosa frequently invades damp pastures where it can parasitize many other species, often reducing their growth rates. Some species it parasitizes include Lolium, Trifolium and Lotus species, all valuable fodder species. Concerns have also been raised for native or endangered species in Australia, where P. viscosa could adapt to use these species as hosts. As the seeds of the plant are small, they can be difficult to identify and remove from introduced grass seed, making risk of introduction high.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Scrophulariales
- Family: Scrophulariaceae
- Genus: Parentucellia
- Species: Parentucellia viscosa
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
P. viscosa was originally included in the family Scrophulariaceae, a large family with a worldwide distribution. Olmstead (2002) and others sampled plants from 39 genera of the family, along with representatives from closely related families, for DNA sequences for three genes. These systematic studies resulted in the re-uniting of the obligate parasitic, or holoparasitic, species of the Orobanchaceae (for example, Orobanche spp.) with their green parasitic cousins capable of both photosynthesis and parasitism (hemiparasites), which include P. viscosa (Olmstead, 2002).
DePamphilis et al. (1997) and Young et al. (1999) showed that parasitism in these parasitic species evolved only once, but that the loss of chlorophyll had occurred many times within the descendants of the first parasitic species.
DescriptionTop of page
The following description is adapted from Webb et al. (1988).
Viscid herb with erect, often simple stems to about 60 cm tall. Leaves 1.2-4.5 × 0.5-1.5 cm, lanceolate to narrow-elliptic or oblong, coarsely serrate, with glandular hairs mainly on the veins and margin; margins flat; apex obtuse or acute. Inflorescence becoming greater than the non-flowering part. Upper bracts reduced. Calyx 1-1.5 cm long, mainly glandular-hairy along nerves and margin of lobes; teeth 6-10 mm long, narrow-triangular, green, acuminate. Corolla 17-25 mm long (to apex of upper lip), yellow, more or less deciduous; upper lip 6-8 mm long, glabrous inside; lower lip with rounded lobes, lacking glandular concavities, the middle lobe 4-5 mm long. Filaments hairy. Capsule 0.9-1.2 cm long, oblong-obovoid, hairy in the upper part. Seeds about 0.2 mm long, ovate-oblong or ellipsoid.
Plant TypeTop of page
DistributionTop of page
The native range of the hemiparasitic herb, P. viscosa, extends from the Mediterranean to Southeast Asia, including Western Europe (Webb et al., 1988; Mabberley, 1997). From there it has spread, probably often as a contaminant in grass seed, to North America, parts of South America, Australasia and to other parts of Europe. It has become established in a number of northern European countries but it has proved difficult to determine in which of those countries it can be regarded as native and to which it has been introduced.
In the British Isles, the species has increased northwards and eastwards, largely through introductions from seed mixtures. In Ireland it is relatively stable in the north but has declined significantly in the southwest.
In the USA it is found in the western states of Washington, Oregon and California, and in Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi, as well as in Hawaii (USDA-ARS, 2013). It is also found in Canada – in British Columbia and in Nova Scotia (Macdonald and Freedman, 2011). In Australia it is widely distributed in the south of the country (in parts of eastern New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, southeastern South Australia and in southwestern West Australia (Weeds of Australia, 2013). The species is widespread in New Zealand, where it is common to abundant in damp pastures and other places (Webb et al., 1988).
In California P. viscosa invades wetland prairies along the coast and pastures in the Sierra Nevada and is especially invasive on dune wetlands at the Humboldt Bay Wildlife Refuge (Cal-IPC, 2013). Brusati and Corelli (2005) tested its invasive potential, which they described as ‘limited’, although they also stated that it is slowly increasing its range both coastally and inland.
It is highlighted by researchers as one of the most dangerous species for Argentina as it has already spread to 10 provinces in Chile within a relatively short period of time (Kühn and Klotz, 2011).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Egypt||Present||Native||Cultivated fields, Nile Valley North of Nubia|
|Morocco||Present, Few occurrences||Native|
|Israel||Present||Native||Original citation: Flora of Israel online (2013)|
|Japan||Present||Introduced||Original citation: NIES (National Institute for Environmental Studies) (2013)|
|Lebanon||Present||Native||Original citation: Old Dominion University (2013)|
|Syria||Present||Native||Original citation: Old Dominion University (2013)|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Present||Native|
|Czechia||Present, Few occurrences||Introduced|
|Ireland||Present||Native||Relatively stable in the north but has declined significantly in the southwest|
|Sweden||Present, Few occurrences||Introduced|
|United Kingdom||Present||Native||Increased northwards and eastwards in UK, largely through introductions from seed mixtures. Conversely, the re-seeding of old pasture has led to some decline over the same period at inland sites in SW England|
|Canada||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Nova Scotia||Present, Few occurrences||Introduced|
|United States||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-New South Wales||Present||Introduced||Some parts of eastern areas|
|-South Australia||Present||Introduced||South-eastern parts|
|-Western Australia||Present||Introduced||South-western parts|
|New Zealand||Present, Widespread||Introduced||Invasive|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
P. viscosa was carried, like many other invasive plants, by early European pastoralists to many corners of their former colonies (Phillips et al., 2010). In Australia this was probably during the period 1840-1882 when large areas of Australia were being sown with European grasses, along with the invasive species that shared their native habitat. In North America, the species may have arrived even earlier, with Spanish invasions of Mexico and the southern United States.
IntroductionsTop of page
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
|Australia||1882||Yes||CHAH (2014); Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria (2013)||Port Albert, Gippsland|
|New Zealand||1869||Yes||Thomson (1925)||As Rhinanthus crista-galli|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
As mentioned by Kühn and Klotz (2011) further spread of this species is highly likely, either by deliberate or accidental introduction to new countries and to other parts of countries where it is already established. The seed of P. viscosa is tiny (described by some as ‘dust-like’) and therefore difficult to identify and remove from introduced grass seed.
Kühn and Klotz (2011) also state that ‘researchers say the most dangerous species for the neighbouring country [Argentina] is yellow glandweed or yellow bartsia (Parentucellia viscosa), an annual herb native to the Mediterranean region which has already spread into 10 provinces of Chile within 48 years’.
HabitatTop of page
Like many other weedy species, P. viscosa seems able to associate with many other species in damp pastures, waste places and along roadsides (Atsatt and Strong, 1970; Suetsugu et al., 2012). Brusati and Corelli (2005) report that in California P. viscosa is mostly found in disturbed sites but that it persists in grasslands that have not been recently disturbed; it needs open areas but not anthropogenic disturbance. It is also parasitic on early successional species on dunes and occurs on dune wetlands in both New Zealand and California (Brusati and Corelli, 2005; Champion and Reeves, 2009).
In Britain and Ireland, it is found in damp, open grassy places on sandy soils, often by tracks. It is most commonly found in drier dune-slacks and in reclaimed heath-pasture, but is also found on pathsides, rough and scrubby grassland and field borders as well as, increasingly in re-seeded grasslands and waste places (Biological Records Centre, 2013). The same source adds ‘it thrives on disturbance’. In New Zealand, Webb et al. (1988) describe the habitat of P. viscosa as ‘common to abundant in pastures, especially where damp, roadsides, waste places, lake margins and streamsides, probably parasitizing a wide range of plants, although at least sometimes autotrophic.’
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial||Managed||Managed grasslands (grazing systems)||Present, no further details|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Disturbed areas||Present, no further details|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Rail / roadsides||Present, no further details|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Natural grasslands||Present, no further details|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Wetlands||Present, no further details|
|Littoral||Coastal areas||Present, no further details|
|Littoral||Coastal dunes||Present, no further details|
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
P. viscosaparasitizes a range of species in Australia, including introduced grasses such as Aira caryophyllea, Anthoxanthum odoratum, Briza maxima, B. minor, Bromus rubens, and Poa annua, as well as introduced weedy species such as Conyza bonariensis, Hypochoeris glabra, Sonchus arvenis, and Anagallis arvensis. More surprisingly though, the host species included a number of Australian natives (Pate and Bell, 2000).
In Japan, Suetsugu et al. (2012) investigated the host selectivity and impact of P. viscosa on other species growing on floodplain vegetative communities. They found that Lolium perenne, Briza maxima, B. minor, Trifolium pratense, T. dubium and several other species were parasitized, and that when P. viscosa plants were removed, total biomass of both grasses and legumes increased.
Biology and EcologyTop of page
According to Atsatt and Strong (1970) and Pickart and Wear (1999), P. viscosa is self-compatible but capable of outbreeding and can on average produce 12,000 seeds per plant. Fecundity is related to plant size and the seeds are tiny and can be readily blown by wind. They may also be transported by water (Pickart and Wear, 1999).
P. viscosa is a hemiparasitic member of the Orobanchaceae, meaning that it derives its nutrients both by photosynthesis as well as from the host plants it parasitizes. It does this by means of haustoria, which are root outgrowths that attach to and extract nutrients and water from the host’s roots. Atsatt and Strong (1970) grew plants of P. viscosa on their own and in association with five other species (Festuca megalura, Hypochoeris radicata, Lotus corniculatus, Spergula arvensis and Trifolium repens) and measured days to flowering and total length of inflorescence as a measure of reproductive potential. Plants grown without hosts produced the same number of flowers per unit length as individuals provided with hosts. Autotrophic plants (grown without associated host species) produced, on average, an inflorescence length of 9.2 cm. By contrast, those grown in the presence of host plants had inflorescences that were (averaged across host species) 10.2 cm long, an increase of 9.8%. This increase was smaller than that achieved by one of the other hemiparasite species tested – Orthocarpus purpurascens var. pallidus, which gained almost 59% in inflorescence length when grown in association with host species, but the inflorescence length of Bellardia trixago, another hemiparasite, was reduced by 6.3% when grown with host species.
Although not measured in the case of P. viscosa, Atsatt and Strong (1970) found that over 50 % of the host plants H. radicata and S. arvensis died in the presence of a single plant of O. purpurascens and the proportion of deaths increased if the population of O. purpurascens was increased to three plants. Interestingly these were also the most beneficial hosts for O. purpurascens.
Atsatt and Strong (1970) deduced that the ability of P. viscosa to use a wide range of hosts to fairly equal effect was related to its inbreeding capacity. In this way it has fewer opportunities to modify its genetic make-up in order to match that of its hosts than would an outcrossing species like O. purpurascens.
Physiology and Phenology
Press et al. (1993) found that the rates of transpiration from P. viscosa and another Mediterranean hemiparasite, Bartsia trixago, were generally in excess of those of their host species, but did not differ nearly as much when compared to the obligate parasites Striga spp. However, like other hemiparasites in Scrophulariaceae, both species kept their stomata at least partially open at night. It has been hypothesised that the purpose of high transpiration rates in mistletoes is to acquire nitrogen from the host, but this does not seem to be supported by the results in these two root hemiparasites (Press et al., 1993).
Suetsugu et al. (2012) investigated the number of haustoria formed by P. viscosa on different host species. In one location, Lolium perenne was strongly preferred as a host and Plantago virginia and Oenothera rosea were strongly avoided, whereas in a different location Trifolium dubium was preferred and Artemisia capillaris strongly avoided.
Pate and Bell (2000) found that P. viscosa grew better in pure stands of the legume Lotus angustissimus than in mixed weed and native species or in native flora only, suggesting high dependence of host and parasite on fixed nitrogen. They also speculated that individuals of the parasitic species may in future become better adapted to Australian native hosts, which would then increase the size and fecundity of their populations.
The seeds of P. viscosa remain viable in the soil for at least a year (Cal-IPC, 2013).
Population Size and Structure
Suetsugu et al. (2012) found that P. viscosa ‘massively invaded’ construction sites through revegetation of Japanese floodplains.
P. viscosa gains some nutrients from its own photosynthesis and some by robbing neighbouring species of theirs. In this species, the host generally seems to have little effect on the reproductive performance of the parasite (Atsatt and Strong, 1970). Furthermore, it does not appear to be selective for which species it gains its nutrients from, but some potential host species have greater defence systems than others. Both L. perenne and Lespedezajuncea var. sericea roots have shown little defensive action against invasion by P. viscosa haustoria. Some slight lignification was found but there was no reaction at the interface between the endophyte and the cortical tissue of the host root. In contrast, haustorial development on Rumex acetosella was poor and at the root interface a darkly staining layer formed between the host tissue and the parasitic tissue. The parasite failed to penetrate into the stele in all cases (Suetsugu et al., 2012).
As P. viscosa is a hemiparasitic species it derives its nutrients both by photosynthesis and from the host plants it parasitizes by means of haustoria. Plants can grow autotrophically, without any haustorial attachments, but most often the plants parasitize a wide range of hosts, including grasses and legumes (Pate and Bell, 2000; Suetsugu et al., 2012). Atsatt and Strong (1970) indicated that annual grassland hemiparasites can even become attached to other individuals of the same species.
Presumably, since plants can grow without any parasitic attachments, the seeds can germinate readily even if host plants are not present, unlike the hemiparasitic Striga spp. in which germination is dependent on the proximity of a host species (Saunders, 1933; Atsatt and Strong, 1970).
P. viscosa appears to require damper substrates, at least in winter, but seems able to coexist with a wide range of species.
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
The seeds of P. viscosa are small, light and readily carried by wind, and possibly also by water.
The sticky seed heads become attached to fur (and woollen socks) and can be transported in that way, potentially for long distances (Florabase, 2013).
In Britain, P. viscosa seems to be introduced in seed mixtures for resowing or oversowing of pastures (Biological Records Centre, 2013). Its tiny seeds make them hard to detect and separate from grass seed so transfer of its seed between and within countries will no doubt continue.
Deliberate introduction seems unlikely as there seem to be few, if any, useful virtues to the species P.viscosa.
Pathway CausesTop of page
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Impact SummaryTop of page
Economic ImpactTop of page
P. viscosa often invades damp pastures where it can parasitise many other species, some of which, such as species of Lolium, Trifolium or Lotus, are valuable fodder species (Pate and Bell, 2000). Suetsugu et al. (2012) found that above-ground biomass was greater if P. viscosa plants were carefully removed: both grasses and legumes showed significant gains, at the expense of other forb species.
Environmental ImpactTop of page
Impact on Biodiversity
If, as postulated by Pate and Bell (2000), P. viscosa populations became adapted to using Australian native species as their hosts, the growth of such species could be drastically reduced. For those species which are already classified as endangered, this could threaten their future even more.
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Pioneering in disturbed areas
- Fast growing
- Has high reproductive potential
- Host damage
- Parasitism (incl. parasitoid)
UsesTop of page
P. viscosa appears to have no significant economic benefits.
Uses ListTop of page
- Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.
Herbiguide (2013) recommends removing isolated plants before flowering. However, according to Brusati and Corelli (2005), P. viscosa fragments easily and fragments can become established elsewhere. It can also resprout readily when cut, grazed or burned.
Emerzian (2007) tested the use of radian heaters (powered by propane gas) on the control of P. viscosa within the Lanphere Dunes Unit of the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge in California. Here P. viscosa is hosted primarily by Lotus purshianus, although it is not host specific (Pickart and Wear, 1999). In locations where P. viscosa blanketed the area at treatment, almost no individuals were left in the subplots that had been entirely treated and fewer were present in the subplots that had been spot-treated. In the short-term, the results were spectacular but the existence of a soil seedbank meant they were short-lived. Twelve months after the treatment P. viscosa had expanded its mean cover in all subplot types except for those in which the entire subplot area was treated. Evidently, regular follow-up treatments are needed post treatment.
Although a number of herbicides are probably effective at controlling P. viscosa (Ask an Expert (2013) recommends spot spraying with chlorsulfuron) controlling the species without destroying other vegetation is difficult. If other vegetation is inadvertently destroyed following chemical control, the resulting bare ground is likely to be recolonized by weeds, including P. viscosa.
Along roadsides, commonly used herbicides like glyphosate are likely to give effective control.
ReferencesTop of page
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01/10/2014 Original text by:
Ian Popay, consultant, New Zealand, with the support of Landcare Research
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