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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Pearl Millet Diseases: Plants: Witchweed

Pearl Millet Diseases

Parasitic Flowering Plants

Witchweed

Striga hermonthica Benth.
Striga asiatica (L.) Kuntze

Symptoms: Severe attack produces leaf wilting and chlorosis. Infected plants may be stunted and die before seed set.

Pathogen and disease characteristics: Striga seeds are stimulated to germinate by root exudates of the host. Plants emerge close to host plant 1 to 2 months after crop is planted, flower 3 to 4 weeks after emergence, and produce mature seed a month later. The species are similar in appearance, with square stems, small, bright green elongated leaves, and red to pink flowers. Seeds are minute (less than 0.25 mm long) and borne in pods or capsules.

Host range: Pearl millet, maize, sorghum, sugarcane, rice, sudangrass, wheat, oats, barley.

Geographic distribution: USA (North and South Carolina), Africa, Australia, India, Indonesia, Southeast Asia.

Nomenclature discrepancies: None.

Seed transmission: Not seed transmitted.

Primary citations: Williams et al. 1978, Shurtleff 1980.


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United States Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service

The material on this page is in the public domain.

Original posting: June 5, 1999.

Last Modified: 2/6/2002