witchweed USDA PLANTS SYMBOL: STAS2
Striga asiatica (L.) Kuntze
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