The Effect of Virulence and Resistance Mechanisms on the Interactions between Parasitic Plants and Their Hosts

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A recent publication of researchers from Zhejiang University (China), University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Université de Toulouse (France) and Guangdong Academy of Sciences in Guangzhou (China) in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences describes the virulence mechanisms of parasitic plants and resistance mechanisms in their hosts, focusing on obligate root parasites of the Orobanchaceae. Parasitic […]

Cryptic Orobanche taxa lurking in retail carparks

Forms of Orobanche minor in the British Isles-9cd6e154

This paper published in British & Irish Botany this year (2020, 2(3): 223-239) might be of interest to IPPS members who work on the genus Orobanche or other taxonomically challenging parasitic plant genera. The paper highlights the presence of cryptic, previously overlooked taxa in the widespread and variable species O. minor. Specifically, two new varieties […]

Parasitic Angiosperms: How often and how many?


The paper published in Taxon this year (2020, 69 (1): 5-27) might be of interest to many of the IPPS members. This is the first comprehensive survey of all parasitic plants that reviews the number of times these organisms evolved and tabulates the number of genera and species. Hopefully it will prove useful to many […]

Special Issue Plants “Parasitic Plants Management”


Plant-parasitic plants are fascinating examples of plant evolution. They live in balance with other organisms in natural ecosystems, in contrast to most parasitic weeds that severely attack crops, reducing their yield and rendering agricultural lands uncultivable worldwide. The control of parasitic weeds is challenging because of the lack of control methods that are selective enough […]

Ethylene signaling mediates host invasion by parasitic plants

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Mutants that reveal the secrets of how plants attack? No, it’s not a scene from a science fiction movie, but you could be forgiven for thinking that. Instead, it’s a scene from real life: Researchers Cui et al. at Nara Institute of Science and Technology in Japan report in a new study in Science Advances […]

The tomato receptor CuRe1 senses a cell wall protein to identify Cuscuta as a pathogen

Cuscuta reflexa induces defense in cultivated tomato by a pathogen-associated molecular pattern

Working together with researchers from the University of Tübingen, the University of Tromsø, the UC Davis and the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, biologists from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have discovered how tomato plants identify Cuscuta spp. as a parasite. The plant has a protein in its cell walls that is identified as ‘foreign’ by Cuscuta Receptor […]

Fertilisers differentially affect facultative and obligate parasitic weeds of rice and only occasionally improve yields in infested fields


Published in Field Crop Research, in the September 2020 issue: In a 4-year field experiment in southern Tanzania, different fertilisers were tested to investigate whether they (1) suppress the obligate parasitic weed Striga asiatica and the facultative parasitic weed Rhamphicarpa fistulosa, and (2) favour rainfed rice yields under parasitic weed infestation. We observed that: (1) fertilisers […]

SMAX1-dependent seed germination bypasses GA signalling in Arabidopsis and Striga

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The first committed step of a successful infestation is the germination of parasite seeds primarily in response to a group of related small molecule hormones called strigolactones (SLs), which are emitted by host roots. Despite the important role of strigolactones, it is not clear how host-derived strigolactones germinate parasitic plants. In contrast, gibberellin acts as […]

Impacts of Cassytha on Alien Invasive Acacias

Cassytha filiformis

At the recently concluded Botanical Society of America meeting  Roshaniza Rosili (PhD student at University of Brunei- Co supervised by Kushan Tennakoon and Faizah Metali) reported that  the photosynthesis of alien invasive Acacia mangium seedlings can be significantly reduced due to parasitism by native Cassytha filiformis. This  suggest that the spread of these alien invasive […]

Science and application of strigolactones

Science and application of strigolactones

When Cook et al. discovered strigol in 1966 they probably did not imagine the prospects of their newfound molecule. Strigol turned out to be a member of a whole class of molecules, the strigolactones (SLs). SLs are plant hormones that regulate shoot branching and root architecture. Ex planta, in the soil surrounding the roots of […]