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


Witchweed - Invasive.org

Scientific name: Striga asiatica (L.) Kuntze (ITIS)

Synonym: Striga lutea Lour.

Common names: Witchweed, Asiatic witchweed, red witchweed

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Selected Resources

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 Resources:

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Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States - Witchweed
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

Invasive Species Compendium - Striga asiatica
CAB International.

Global Invasive Species Database - Striga asiatica (herb)
World Conservation Union. Invasive Species Specialist Group.


Striga asiatica - Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN)
USDA. ARS. National Genetic Resources Program.

Striga asiatica - Federal Noxious Weed Disseminules of the U.S.
USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Witchweed: A Parasitic Pest (Jan 2011; PDF | 37 KB)
USDA. APHIS. Plant Protection and Quarantine.

PLANTS Database - Asiatic Witchweed
USDA. NRCS. National Plant Data Center.

Weed Profile: Witchweed
New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (Australia).

Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries (Australia).


Striga genus - EncycloWeedia
California Department of Food and Agriculture.


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.


Witch Weed (Striga asiatica) - Plantwise Knowledge Bank
CABI. Plantwise.

Striga asiatica (Red Witchweed)
East African Network for Taxonomy.

Striga asiatica
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk.


Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Striga asiatica. [Accessed Sep 10, 2014].

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: May 16, 2015
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