witchweed USDA PLANTS Symbol: STAS2
U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Forbs/Herbs Parasitic and Epiphytic Plants
Striga asiatica (L.) Kuntze

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Taxonomic Rank: Magnoliopsida: Scrophulariales: Scrophulariaceae
Synonym(s): Asiatic witchweed

Witchweed 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 are linear and around 1 in. (2.5 cm) long. Flowers are small, less than ½ 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. Witchweed 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.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Selected Images from Invasive.orgView All Images at Invasive.org


Florida Division of Plant Industry Archive, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Florida Division of Plant Industry Archive, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Plant(s);
Florida Division of Plant Industry Archive, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Plant(s);
Florida Division of Plant Industry Archive, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Plant(s);
USDA APHIS PPQ Archive, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Plant(s); underground attachment
USDA APHIS PPQ Archive, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org
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Control; spraying for witchweed control
USDA APHIS PPQ Archive, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org
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Control; Witchweed sprayer
USDA APHIS PPQ Archive, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org
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Infestation; July, 1984; Marion Langston (Right), showing corn stunted by witchweed infestation.
Randy Westbrooks, Invasive Species Prevention Specialist, Bugwood.org
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Seed(s); Seed. FNW taxon.
Julia Scher, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Seed(s); Seeds. FNW taxon.
Julia Scher, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Seed(s); Seeds. FNW taxon.
Julia Scher, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

EDDMapS Distribution:
This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts and records obtained from USDA Plants Database. For more information, visit www.eddmaps.org
 


State(s) Where Reported invasive.
Based on state level agency and organization lists of invasive plants from WeedUS database.


Invasive Listing Sources:
South Carolina Exotic Pest Plant Council