Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Striga aspera
(witchweed)

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Datasheet

Striga aspera (witchweed)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 21 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Striga aspera
  • Preferred Common Name
  • witchweed
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Close-up of flowers of Striga aspersa on rice in Senegal.
TitleFlowers
CaptionClose-up of flowers of Striga aspersa on rice in Senegal.
Copyright©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
Close-up of flowers of Striga aspersa on rice in Senegal.
FlowersClose-up of flowers of Striga aspersa on rice in Senegal.©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Striga aspera (Willd.) Benth. (1836)

Preferred Common Name

  • witchweed

Other Scientific Names

  • Euphrasia aspera Willd. (1801)

EPPO code

  • STRAS (Striga aspera)

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Scrophulariales
  •                         Family: Orobanchaceae
  •                             Genus: Striga
  •                                 Species: Striga aspera

Distribution

Top of page S. aspera overlaps with Striga hermonthica almost throughout West Africa and Cameroon, but is much less common in eastern Africa.

Distribution Table

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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

Africa

BeninPresentM'Boob (1994)
Burkina FasoPresentM'Boob (1994)
CameroonPresentHepper (1963)
Central African RepublicPresentM'Boob (1994)
Côte d'IvoirePresentParker and Riches (1993)
EthiopiaPresentParker and Riches (1993)
GambiaPresentCABI (Undated)Original citation: Hepper, 1993
Guinea-BissauPresentCABI (Undated)Original citation: Hepper, 1962
MalawiPresentM'Boob (1994)
MaliPresentHepper (1963)
NigerPresentHepper (1963)
NigeriaPresentHepper (1963)
SenegalPresentHepper (1963)
SudanPresentHepper (1963)
TanzaniaPresentHepper (1963)
TogoPresentM'Boob (1994)

Habitat

Top of page Generally similar to that for Striga hermonthica, but can tolerate higher moisture levels, hence its occurrence in irrigated rice.

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page The host range of S. aspera is somewhat similar to that of Striga hermonthica, but includes a rather wider range of wild grass species. It also differs in attacking maize much more commonly than it attacks sorghum.

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Oryza sativa (rice)PoaceaeMain
Sorghum bicolor (sorghum)PoaceaeOther
Urochloa ramosa (browntop millet)PoaceaeWild host
Zea mays (maize)PoaceaeMain

Symptoms

Top of page As Striga hermonthica.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Leaves / abnormal patterns
Leaves / yellowed or dead
Stems / stunting or rosetting
Whole plant / dwarfing
Whole plant / early senescence

Biology and Ecology

Top of page Very similar in most respects to Striga hermonthica, but emerging and maturing more rapidly where the two overlap in West Africa, and sometimes occurring in wetter conditions, including irrigated rice.

Impact

Top of page S. aspera causes significant damage to rice and maize in several countries of West Africa.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page See Striga hermonthica.

Prevention and Control

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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.

Control measures for S. aspera are generally comparable to those for Striga hermonthica, but there are some differences in varietal susceptibility and resistance. The maize hybrids tolerant of S. hermonthica do not tolerate S. aspera (Kim and Winslow, 1992), while rice varieties resistant to S. hermonthica are also resistant to S. aspera (Johnson et al., 1997).

References

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Hepper FN, 1963. Scrophulariaceae. In: Hutchinson J, Dalziel JM, Hepper FN, eds. Flora of West Tropical Africa, Volume 2, second edition. London, UK: Crown Agents, 352-374.

Johnson DE; Riches CR; Diallo R; Jones MJ, 1997. Striga on rice in West Africa; crop host range and the potential of host resistance. Crop Protection, 16(2):153-157; 12 ref.

Kim SK; Winslow MD, 1992. Breeding maize for Striga resistance. IITA Research, No. 4:9-12

M'Boob SS, 1994. Striga in Africa. In: Lagoke STO, Hoevers R, M'Boob SS, Traboulsi, eds. Improving Striga Management in Africa. Proceedings of the 23nd General Workshop of the Pan-African Striga Control Network (PASCON), Nairobi, 1991. Rome, Italy: FAO, 25-29.

Parker C; Riches CR, 1993. Parasitic weeds of the world: biology and control. Wallingford, UK; CAB International, xx + 332 pp.

Distribution References

CABI, Undated. Compendium record. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Hepper FN, 1963. Scrophulariaceae. In: Flora of West Tropical Africa, 2 (second) [ed. by Hutchinson J, Dalziel JM, Hepper FN]. London, UK: Crown Agents. 352-374.

M'Boob SS, 1994. Striga in Africa. In: Improving Striga Management in Africa [Proceedings of the 23nd General Workshop of the Pan-African Striga Control Network (PASCON), Nairobi, 1991], [ed. by Lagoke STO, Hoevers R, M'Boob SS, Traboulsi]. Rome, Italy: FAO. 25-29.

Parker C, Riches C R, 1993. Parasitic weeds of the world: biology and control. Wallingford, UK: CAB International. xx + 332 pp.

Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Distribution Maps

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