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You are here: Home / Plants / Species Profiles / Witchweed
Species Profiles


Witchweed - Invasive.org

Scientific name: Striga asiatica (L.) Kuntze

Synonym: Striga lutea Lour.

Common names: Witchweed, Asiatic witchweed

Click image to enlarge

Native To: Africa and Asia (Werth et al. 1984)

Date of U.S. Introduction: First identified in North Carolina in 1956 (Werth et al. 1984)

Means of Introduction: Accidental (Spallek et al. 2013)

Impact: Parasitic plant that attacks agricultural crops, including corn, sorghum, sugar cane, and rice (Werth et al. 1984)

Current U.S. Distribution: North Carolina, South Carolina

Federally Regulated:

  • Listed as a Federal Noxious Weed under the Plant Protection Act, which makes it illegal in the U.S. to import or transport between States without a permit (USDA, APHIS - Noxious Weeds Program)



Selected Internet Resources:

Federal Government

Striga asiatica (L.) Kuntze
Integrated Taxonomic Information System.

Witchweed: Pearl Millet Diseases - Plant Parasites
. ARS. Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Distribution

Striga asiatica Article Citation Search - AGRICOLA Database
USDA. National Agricultural Library.
Research; Special Note: NAL Catalog Search (Resources)

Striga asiatica - Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN)
USDA. ARS. National Genetic Resources Program.
Taxonomy; Distribution; Legal Aspects

Watch Out for Witchweed (Oct 1999; PDF | 126 KB)
USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Distribution

Striga asiatica - Federal Noxious Weed Disseminules of the U.S.
USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Illustrations; Distribution

Witchweed: A Parasitic Pest (Apr 2000; PDF | 10 KB)
USDA. APHIS. Plant Protection and Quarantine.
Introduction History; Impacts; Controls

PLANTS Database - Asiatic Witchweed
USDA. NRCS. National Plant Data Center.
Taxonomy; Photographs; Distribution; Legal Aspects

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State Government

Striga genus - EncycloWeedia
California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution; Dispersion; Controls

Striga asiatica scorecard
California Invasive Species Advisory Committee.
Identification/Description; Impacts; Dispersion

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Witchweed - Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Distribution

You Ain't From Around Here! Exotic Invasive of the Quarter: Witchweed (2011; PDF | 205 KB)
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Introduction History; Impacts; Distribution; Dispersion; Controls

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Controlling "Witchweed" in Sub-Saharan Africa - Harnessing the Potential of Public/Private Partnerships, Annual Report 2005 (PDF | 1.3 MB)
African Agricultural Technology Foundation.
Identification/Description; Impacts; Controls

Striga asiatica - Invasive Species Compendium
Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI).
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution; Controls

Striga asiatica (PDF | 142 KB)
Caribbean Pest Information Network.
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Photographs; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution; Dispersion; Controls

Striga spp. - Data Sheets on Quarantine Pests (DOC | 38 KB)
European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization.
Identification/Description; Impacts; Life Cycle; Distribution; Dispersion

Weed Profile: Witchweed
New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (Australia).
Identification/Description; Photographs; Impacts; Distribution; Dispersion; Controls; Legal Aspects

Striga: Facts and Peculiarities
United Nations Development Programme. Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia.
Identification/Description; Life Cycle; Impacts; Controls

Striga asiatica (herb) - ISSG Global Invasive Species Database
World Conservation Union. Invasive Species Specialist Group.
Taxonomy; Identification/Description; Impacts; Life Cycle; Habitat; Distribution; Controls

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Striga asiatica - Comprehensive Report
NatureServe Explorer.
Taxonomy; Distribution

Striga asiatica
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Habitat; Distribution


Spallek, T., J.M. Mutuku, and K. Shirasu. 2013. The genus Striga: A witch profile. Molecular Plant Pathology.

Werth, C.R., J. L. Riopel and N.W. Gillespie. 1984. Genetic uniformity in an introduced population of witchweed (Striga asiatica) in the United States. Weed Science. Volume 32:645-648.

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Last Modified: Jul 01, 2014
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