Authors: Karan Rawlins, Hillery Reeves and Kaylee Tillery at the Center for Invasive Species & Ecosystem Health, University of Georgia
- Striga asiatica is a parasitic plant that can infest agricultural crops and has been found in North and South Carolina. Plants are normally 6-12 in. (15.2-30.5 cm) tall but have grown to 24 in. (61 cm).
- Leaves of Striga asiatica are linear and around 1 in. (2.5 cm) long.
- Striga asiatica flowers are small, less than 0.5 in. (1.3 cm) in diameter, occur in or on loose spikes, and can vary greatly in color from white to yellow, red, or purple.
- The flowers give way to swollen seed pods that contain thousands of microscopic seeds per pod.
- Ecological Threat
- Striga asiatica can parasitize important agricultural crops such as corn, sorghum, sugar cane and rice. The host plant's nutrients are depleted and energy is spent supporting the parasitic witchweed. Infestations reduce yields and contaminate crops. Witchweed is native to Asia and Africa and was first identified in the United States, in the Carolinas, in 1955. It is listed as a Federal Noxious Weed.
Images from Bugwood.org