History of the International Parasitic Plant Society (IPPS)

Parasitic plants have been a source of scientific interest for many years and the subject of international conferences since 1973. That was the year of the first International Symposium on Parasitic Weeds that brought together a core group of researchers who were (and still are) passionate about parasitic plants. The loosely organized group held major symposia for nearly 3 decades (See table below), often interspersed with specialized workshops on Striga, Orobanche, or non-weedy hemiparasites. The IPPS is the direct descendent of this group.

In 2000 a committee met in Nantes, France to work out details of the society structure and write a constitution. This was presented to the parasitic plant research community the following year on the occasion of the 7th International Parasitic Weed Symposium, and the society was officially registered in The Netherlands in 2001. The committee that drafted the constitution formed the first officers of the society, André Fer - president, Patrick Thalouarn – vice president, Daniel Joel – secretary, Jos Verkleij – treasurer, and James Westwood – editor. The society continues to promote the ideals of the founders in 1973, and now organizes conferences dealing with all parasitic plants on a two year cycle to keep up with the accelerating pace of discovery.

Major conferences on parasitic plants
No. Year Location
1 1973 Malta
2 1979 Raleigh, USA
3 1984 Aleppo, Syria
4 1987 Marburg, Germany
5 1991 Nairobi, Kenya
6 1996 Cordoba, Spain
7 2001 Nantes, France
8 2004 Durban, South Africa
9 2007 Charlottesville, USA
10 2009 Kusadasi, Turkey
11 2011 Martina Franca, Italy
12 2013 Sheffield, UK
13 2015 Kunming, China
14 2017 Asilomar, USA