Jonne Rodenburg

Weed Research – Special Issue Biology, ecology and management of parasitic weeds: current status and new insights

Edited by Maurizio Vurro, David Chikoye and Jonne Rodenburg.

At the occasion of this year’s 16th World Congress on Parasitic Plants (WCPP) in Nairobi (from 3-8 July, 2022), Weed Research is launching a Special Issue dedicated to the fascinating world of parasitic weeds. Submissions focusing on all aspects -from biology, physiology and ecology to management- with relevance to weedy species of parasitic plants are welcome (regardless of whether they are presented at the WCPP). Reviews, insights, meta-analyses as well as novel research submission are encouraged.

Plant-plant parasitism is a well-known and studied biological phenomenon, ranging from relative independence of the parasite on the host plant (the facultative and the hemi-parasites) to complete dependence (the holo-parasites), and parasitic plants are further subdivided according to whether they infect aboveground (stem parasites) or belowground (root parasites) plant parts. Parasitic plants are also omnipresent, from the temperate zones to the tropics, and from humid to arid climates.
Around the world, parasitic plants lead to severe economic losses, in particular when they parasitize food crops, as they can significantly reduce both quantity and quality of the harvestable products. Species of parasitic plants that represent severe weed problems, henceforward rereferred to as parasitic weeds, are found across many agro-climatic zones and cropping systems and represent the whole array of possible parasitism. The most important root parasitic weeds are Broomrapes (Orobanche spp. and Phelipanche spp.) in temperate and Mediterranean zones, and the Witchweeds (Striga spp. and Alectra spp.) and Rice Vampireweed (Rhamphicarpa fistulosa) in the tropics. Important stem parasites in agriculture are the Dodders (Cuscuta spp.) and, to a latter extent, the Mistletoes (e.g., Viscum spp., Tapinanthus spp. and Phragmantheera ssp.; globally) and Love vine (Cassytha spp.; in the tropics).
Research on parasitic weeds dates back nearly one century but started to gain momentum in the 1950’s with the discovery of Striga asiatica in North and South Carolina (USA). Since then, a progressive increase in parasitic weed research efforts has led to an exponential increase in the number of scientific publications. Major advances have been made in understanding of the biology and ecology of parasitic weeds, as well as identifying entry points and technologies for their management (e.g., host-plant resistance and tolerance, biological control, cultural and integrated weed management). The current research effort on parasitic weeds ranges from a focus on the molecular and biochemical underpinning of parasite – host interactions at the cell and plant level to modelling and experimental agronomy and agroecological work at the field, farm and even landscape level.

Submission Start Date: 1 June 2022
Submission Deadline: 30 November 2022
Expected Acceptance Deadline (subject to change): 1 June 2023
Expected Publication Schedule (subject to change): September 2023

Your contribution can be a research, review or ‘insights’ paper on a topic of your own choice. You could consult the journal’s author guidelines here, for information on the requirements of these three categories of papers.

Please let us know at your earliest convenience whether you or any members of your group are able to commit to a contribution and what that contribution would be (article category + preliminary title + co-authors, if relevant and known).