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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. (ITIS)

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:

  • Noxious Weeds Program
    USDA. APHIS. Plant Protection and Quarantine.
    Includes species 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.



Selected Resources:

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Federal Noxious Weed Disseminules of the U.S. - Fact Sheet: Striga
USDA. APHIS. PPQ. Center for Plant Health Science and Technology; California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) - Striga asiatica
USDA. FS. Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry.

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.

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

Global Invasive Species Database - Striga asiatica (herb)
IUCN. Species Survival Commission. Invasive Species Specialist Group.

Federal Government

U.S. National Plant Germplasm System - Striga asiatica
USDA. ARS. National Genetic Resources Program. GRIN-Global.

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.

International Government

Weeds in Australia - Witchweeds (Striga spp.)
Australian Government. Department of the Environment and Energy.

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

Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Australia).

State Government

Encycloweedia: Data Sheet - Witchweed
California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Included on California's noxious weed list; see Encycloweedia: Program Details for additional resources.


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.


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


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 14(9):861-869.

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 32:645-648.

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Last Modified: Sep 28, 2016
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