Screening Maize (Zea mays) Genotypes for Tolerance to Witchweed (Striga asiatica L. Kuntze) Infection

Moreblessing Chitagu, Joyful Tatenda Rugare, Stanford Mabasa


Striga asiatica (witchweed) is a parasitic weed that is a serious threat to maize (Zea mays L.) production in semi-arid environments in Africa. A pot experiment was conducted under glasshouse conditions to screen nine maize cultivars for their tolerance / tolerance to Striga infection at the University of Zimbabwe in the 2012 / 2013 rainfall season. Striga did not significantly (P > 0.05) reduce the final maize height of the maize cultivars, with the exception of three maize cultivars, namely, PHB3253, PHB30G19 and PHB30B50. Furthermore Striga did not significantly (P > 0.05) reduce the stem biomass, leaf biomass and cob biomass of all the maize cultivars evaluated. Generally the maize cultivars had significantly (P < 0.05) higher root / shoot ratios in the Striga infected plants compared to the uninfected plants. It was concluded that all the maize genotypes used in this study could possibly be tolerant to S. asiatica.

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Journal of Agricultural Science ISSN 1916-9752 (Print) ISSN 1916-9760 (Online)

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