Phenotypic diversity in pre- and post-attachment resistance to Striga hermonthica in a core collection of rice germplasms


In sub‐Saharan Africa, rice is the third‐largest source of food energy, with a rising demand due to population growth and changes in eating habits. The expansion of rice cultivation by converting fallow, maize, and sorghum fields into rainfed rice fields is one method that will help to close the gap between rice demand and production […]

Cuscuta species: Model organisms for haustorium development in stem holoparasitic plants


Parasitic plants are notorious for causing serious agricultural losses in many countries. Specialized intrusive organs, haustoria, confer on parasitic plants the ability to acquire water and nutrients from their host plants. Investigating the mechanism involved in haustorium development not only reveals the fascinating mystery of how autotrophic plants evolved parasitism but also provides the foundation […]

Maize resistance to witchweed through changes in strigolactone biosynthesis


Maize (Zea mays) is a major staple crop in Africa, where its yield and the livelihood of millions are compromised by the parasitic witchweed Striga. Germination of Striga is induced by strigolactones exuded from maize roots into the rhizosphere. In a maize germplasm collection, we identified two strigolactones, zealactol and zealactonoic acid, which stimulate less […]

Nitrogen represses haustoria formation through abscisic acid in the parasitic plant Phtheirospermum japonicum

Phtheirospermum haustorium.

The availability of nutrients in the environment can have dramatic effects on plant parasitism, for instance, Striga infestations are reduced in nutrient rich soils. The molecular basis for this phenomenon is not well known so we decided to investigate this further with the Orobanchaceae family member Phtheirospermum japonicum. It’s a facultative parasite which infects Arabidopsis […]

ERC Proof of Concept grant to control witchweed infection in maize

Harro Bouwmeester received a Proof of Concept Grant funded by the European Research Council (ERC) for the project LGSMAIZE. With this grant we will test whether it is possible to genetically modify African maize genotypes so they become resistant to parasitic witchweeds. This can be an enormous asset in the fight against witchweed. The parasitic […]

Poll to find best date for WCPP17 in Nara, Japan

The Society and the local meeting organizers ask all members to help us find the best meeting data for the next International Congress on Parasitic Plants, to be held in Nara, Japan. Members can access the poll in the member-only section (login required). We have two candidate dates in June or July, 2024. To find […]

Call for papers: Chemical, Biological, and Biotechnological Control of Parasitic Weeds


We welcome the submission of original research and review articles related to parasitic weed (witchweeds, broomrapes, mistletoes, dodders, etc.) control including, but not limited to, the following themes:• Screening and structure-activity relationship of chemicals• Screening of biological resources and their effects on parasites• Characterization of molecules, such as enzymes, as targets for control• Biotechnological approaches […]

Call for papers: Parasitic plants, people and planet

Over one per cent of flowering plants are parasitic and extract food and water from other plants. They have a profound effect on both natural and agricultural systems. They include evolutionary enigmas, for example plants that grow inside other plants, and ecosystem engineers, for example hemiparasites that regulate biodiversity in plant communities. Parasitic plants are […]

Abdul Gabbar Tayeb Babiker 1949-2022

When I was asked to say a few words in memory of my friend and fellow strigologist, Abdul Gabbar Babiker, I did not expect all the accolades and affection that speakers at the 16th World Congress on Parasitic Plants (WCPP) in Nairobi rightly gave him, even having a presentation dedicated to him. I spent a […]