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Ethylene: A Witchweed Seed Germination Stimulant

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 June 2017

Robert E. Eplee*
Affiliation:
Witchweed Methods Development Lab., Animal and Plant Health Insp. Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine, U.S. Dep. Agr., Whiteville, NC 28472

Abstract

Ethylene gas (C2 H4) was found to stimulate the germination of witchweed [Striga asiatica (L.) O. Kuntze] seeds. Ethylene diffuses greater than 120 cm horizontally from point of injection and more than 90 cm below the soil surface. Rates of 0.42 kg/ha induced germination of witchweed seeds in sandy soil; but 1.1 kg/ha is required on a heavy clay soil. Witchweed seeds respond to ethylene after a period of preconditioning that is necessary to break dormancy. Under field conditions in the Carolinas, maximum response of seeds to ethylene occurs between late April and late July. Field studies indicate a 90% reduction in viable witchweed seeds occurs where a single treatment with ethylene has been applied. The use of ethylene appears now to be a major contributor toward the eventual eradication of witchweed from the United States.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © 1975 by the Weed Science Society of America 

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References

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