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Common Name : White Witcheweed     -       Scientific Name : Striga angustifolia (Orobanchaceae)      
Sudu Muwa Wala
01/15/2015

This is a common root parasite found among grass both in the dry and wet lowlands and in the hills. Other than in Sri Lanka this species is also found in Africa, China, India, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal and Vietnam.

The conservation status of this species is regarded as “Near Threatened” (National Red List 2012).

The white Whichweed as with all species of its genus Striga are root parasites with very low ability of photosynthesis

Once germination is stimulated the seeds of this species will send out and initial root to probe the soil for a host root. Upon detecting a root and enzyme is used to digest the surface of the host root. If the host is suitable an appendage named haustorium is quickly developed from the initial root, which will grow in to the host root establishing a parasitic contact through which the plant will extract the necessary water and nutrients. This species is known to parasitize on grasses, paddy and even sugar cane.

In Wilpattu this species can be seen among the open grass patches through out the park. I have observed the flowers after the rains during the months of January and February.