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Current and potential geographical distribution of the invasive plant Parthenium hysterophorus (Asteraceae) in eastern and southern Africa

Authors


A J McConnachie, ARC-PPRI, Private Bag X6006, Hilton, 3245, South Africa. Tel: (+27) 33 355 9189; Fax: (+27) 33 355 9423; E-mail: mcconnachiea@arc.agric.za

Abstract

McConnachie AJ, Strathie LW, Mersie W, Gebrehiwot L, Zewdie K, Abdurehim A, Abrha B, Araya T, Asaregew F, Assefa F, Gebre-Tsadik R, Nigatu L, Tadesse B & Tana T (2011). Current and potential geographical distribution of the invasive plant Parthenium hysterophorus (Asteraceae) in eastern and southern Africa. Weed Research 51, 71–84.

Summary

Parthenium hysterophorus (Asteraceae), of South American origin, is considered to be one of the world’s most serious invasive plants, invading Australia, Asia and Africa. As part of an international collaborative project, this study attempted to improve the understanding of the geographical distribution of P. hysterophorus in eastern and southern Africa. The climate modelling program CLIMEX was used to assist in the selection of survey localities. Roadside surveys of the distribution of the weed were conducted in Botswana, Ethiopia, South Africa, Swaziland and Uganda. Prior to these surveys, only limited P. hysterophorus locality records existed; substantially more records were obtained from surveys. Most infestations were high density (>3 plants m−2). Distribution records were used to validate the CLIMEX model, which proved a useful tool. This study increased current understanding of the distribution of P. hysterophorus and developed a baseline from which to monitor future spread and abundance of P. hysterophorus. Additional surveys are required in other countries in Africa which are predicted by CLIMEX to be at risk. This will enhance integrated management decisions for the control of a weed which has implications for food security and human health.

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