occurrence of field dodder (Cuscuta campestris Yuncker) on onion fields in the Gezira Scheme

M. S. Zaroug, A. A. Abbasher, E. B. Zahran, E. A. Abdelaleem


Dodder (Cuscuta spp) is an annual obligate stem parasite that attaches itself to a variety of host plants. It produces dense and shady barriers or canopy which drastically reduce growth and vigor of the host. Significant crop losses have been reported due to infestation of pulses, sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) potato (Solanum tuberosum L.), alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) and onion (Allium cepa L.). Pulses in general have been seriously infested while cereals have never been reported to be infested by the parasite irrespective of seasonal conditions (Dawson et al., 1994). However, according to Mishra et al. (2007) the susceptibility of pulse crops to Cuscuta could vary with crop. Toth et al. (2006) reported that C. campestris infestation reduces  sugar beet weight by 21.6-37.4 % and sugar content by 12.0-15.2 %. Beside sugar beet, field dodder infests onion. In Sudan, Bebawi and Neugebohrn (1991) reported dodder as a serious parasitic plant on lucerne, horse beans and water cress. Abdalla and Siddig (1993) showed that fruit yield of roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa L.) could be considerably reduced as a result of infection by dodder (Cuscuta hyaline Roth). The present study was conducted to identify the dodder species that parasitizes onion in the Gezira scheme,  estimate yield reduction in onion and to determine the natural host range of the parasite.

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