Jonne Rodenburg

New paper: Differences in the ecology of witchweed and vampireweed: Implications for rice farming in Africa

Plants People Planet

Jonne Rodenburg & Lammert Bastiaans


Parasitic weeds in African rice systems affect household-level food security and income generation in Africa. Most affected farmers are smallholders with limited weed management capacities, crop production infrastructure and resources. The facultative parasite Rhamphicarpa fistulosa (rice vampireweed) has become a major problem in rainfed lowland rice whereas the obligate parasites Striga asiatica and S. hermonthica(witchweed) are problematic in rainfed upland rice. Striga asiaticaS. hermonthica and Rhamphicarpa fistulosaare all root hemiparasitic plants from the same family, Orobanchaceae, with similar distribution and host-plant effects. The differences in biology (facultative vs obligate parasitism) and ecology (lowland vs upland) between these weed species appear more important than their similarities regarding the effectiveness of management strategies in rice production systems.