Striga hermonthica

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Purple witchweed
Striga hermonthica
Striga hermonthica flowers
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Orobanchaceae
Genus: Striga
Species: S. hermonthica
Binomial name
Striga hermonthica

Striga hermonthica, commonly known as purple or giant witchweed,[1] is a hemiparasitic plant[1] that belongs to the family Orobanchaceae. It is devastating to major crops such as sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) and rice (Oryza sativa).[2] In sub-Saharan Africa it infests, apart from sorghum and rice, also maize (Zea mays), pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) and sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum).[3] 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".[3]

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.[2]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b Yoshida, Satoko; Maruyama, Shinichiro; Nozaki, Hisayoshi; Shirasu, Ken (28 May 2010). "Horizontal Gene Transfer by the Parasitic Plant Stiga hermonthica". Science 328 (5982): 1128. doi:10.1126/science.1187145. PMID 20508124. 
  3. ^ a b Abbasher, 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 Journal 6 (2): 179–188. 

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