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Witchweed: A curse on Swaziland's maize crops

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Publication details

JournalPlanet Earth
DatePublished - 1 Mar 2006
Issue numberSPRING
Original languageEnglish


The farmers in Swaziland in Southern Africa are very much concerned about the ill effects of witchweed on the growth of maize crops. The witchweed in Swaziland is Striga asiatica, which is about 50 cm tall weed with red flowers and is parasitic unlike most weeds. The parasite attaches itself to the young maize roots, extract nutrients and water before the maize has even emerged from the ground, and disrupt its growth. The witchweed flowers produce hundreds of thousand of seeds in the soil which cause harm to future maize crops. The farmers, scientists, and policymakers of Swaziland need to develop simple and inexpensive strategies to tackle the threat caused due to witchweed.

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