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Interference of weeds in vegetable crop cultivation, in the changing climate of Southern Europe with emphasis on drought and elevated temperatures: a review

  • A. Karkanis (a1), G. Ntatsi (a2), A. Alemardan (a3), S. Petropoulos (a4) and D. Bilalis (a5)...


It is challenging to predict the changes in weed flora that may occur because of changes in global climate. Limited data are available on the effect of climate change and drought conditions on weed flora and their competitiveness in Southern Europe. Future predictions by scientists indicate reduced and untimely rainfall, along with increased temperatures in this region. Weeds possess a variety of developmental and physiological mechanisms, including senescing, increased leaf cuticular wax deposition, well-developed palisade parenchyma in the leaves, high root/shoot ratio, stomatal closure, peroxidase accumulation and symbiosis with endophytes that enable them to adapt to drought and high temperatures. Because of high adaptability of weeds to adverse environmental conditions, it can be assumed that under future warmer and drier environmental conditions, their growth will be favoured, while the competitiveness of vegetable crops against weeds will be decreased. It is important to highlight that the predicted decrease in overall rainfall levels throughout the year may lead to increased problems of herbicide residues (carryover effects) to following crops. The current paper provides an up-to-date overview of the adaptation mechanisms of weed species commonly found in Southern Europe, in order to expand the available knowledge regarding their response to drought and elevated temperatures. Emphasis is placed on revealing the effects of drought and increased temperatures on vegetable–weed competition and, most importantly, its effect on vegetable crop yield.

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Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: A. Karkanis, E-mail:,


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