Striga hermonthica, commonly known as purple or giant witchweed, is a hemiparasitic plant that belongs to the family Orobanchaceae. It is devastating to major crops such as sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) and rice (Oryza sativa). In sub-Saharan Africa it infests, apart from sorghum and rice, also maize (Zea mays), pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) and sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum). In the late 1990s, "21 million hectares of cereals in Africa were estimated to be infested by S. hermonthica, leading to an estimated annual grain loss of 4.1 million tons".
Striga hermonthica has undergone horizontal gene transfer from Sorghum to its nuclear genome. The S. hermonthica gene, ShContig9483, is most like a Sorghum bicolor gene, and additionally shows significant but lesser similarity to a gene from Oryza sativa. It shows no similarity to any known eudicot gene.
^ abYoshida, Satoko; Maruyama, Shinichiro; Nozaki, Hisayoshi; Shirasu, Ken (28 May 2010). "Horizontal Gene Transfer by the Parasitic Plant Stiga hermonthica". Science328 (5982): 1128. doi:10.1126/science.1187145. PMID20508124.
^ abAbbasher, A. A.; Hess, D. E.; Sauerborn, J. (1998). "Fungal pathogens for biological control of Striga hermonthica on sorghum and pearl millet in West Africa". African Crop Science Journal6 (2): 179–188.