Parthenium hysterophorus L. is a genus in the family Asteraceae (Compositae ), native to tropical Americas, Parthenium hysterophorus, is an aggressive weed invading all disturbed land, including farms, pastures, and roadsides. Contact with this plant causes dermatitis and respiratory malfunction in humans, dermatitis in cattle and domestic animals, due to the presence of toxin Parthenium hysterophorus,
The species Parthenium hysterophorus, also known as congress weed or congress grass, has become a common weed in India, Australia and parts of Africa. In some areas, outbreaks have been of almost epidemic proportions, impacting crop production, livestock and human health. Its also called Congress weed in India .
Parthenium is a hazardous weed that harms human beings, kills livestock and chokes crops has invaded India .Congress weed, scientifically known as Parthenium hysterophorus, has been seen rapidly multiplying in several spots especially along the highway across Asia and American continent Parthenium hysterophorus has also been found to be resistant to glyphosate, the strong and popular systemic herbicide prohibiting its control.
Despite looking beautiful and smelling sweet, congress weed is among the world’s 10 most dangerous weeds. On contact with the human body, it causes a burning effect that can peel off the skin. Human beings who inhale pollen from the flowers can get an asthma-like illness or persistent flu-like symptoms.
The presence of Parthenium hysterophorus in cropped lands results in yield reduction up to 40 per cent. The pollen grains inhibit fruit set in tomato, brinjal, beans, etc. It is also responsible for bitter milk disease in livestock fed on grass mixed with Parthenium hysterophorus, Cattle that eat it produce foul-smelling milk or even die.
Parthenium hysterophorus weed can reduce maize yield by 40-60%. It can also reduce the amount of pasture in a grazing area . The congress weed is thought to have been introduced into India from Mexico . It accidentally got to India through relief grain imported from Mexico during the great famine that hit the Horn of India in the mid 1980s. It is dispersed mainly by long distance trucks, rivers, water streams and storm water (floods) and wind .
Parthenium hysterophorus is a fast maturing plant with a deep tap roof that can grow to a height of 1.5 to 2 meter having branched leaves covered with fine hairs. It grows a large number of small white flowers and seeds of light weight that are easily dispersed to distant places causing allergy in human beings. Each plant can produce up to 10,000 seeds. It has the capacity to re-grow from the cut or broken parts. It has no natural enemies such as insects and diseases because of which it spreads rapidly in India .
This weed can grow to the height of an adult and produce tens of thousands of seeds in one to two months. The seeds germinate easily but if the ground is not moist, it can remain viable (able to germinate) for up to 20 years. The situation may not be as simple as a botanist may predict . it’s higher natality rate headed to decline in agricultural productivity, food insecurity and poverty is set in as a result. Covering to the grassland ,It reduces the grazing area for the wild and domestic animal .and an ecological crisis may be due to the disturbance of the food chain .
The weed has since grown into uncontrollable proportions invading million of hectares of uncultivated wastelands, roadsides, railway tracks, etc. The fast growing weed is a nuisance in public parks, residential colonies and orchards. Not only that, it causes health hazards such as skin allergy, hay fever and asthma in human beings and is toxic to livestock. It squeezes grasslands and pastures, reducing the fodder supply. Scientists describe it as a "poisonous, allergic and aggressive weed posing a serious threat to human beings and livestock."
Since Parthenium hysterophorus produce large numbers of seeds which are transported by water, on vehicles and equipment, or in soil or mud adhering to vehicles, equipment and animals. Hence its spread is associated with roadways, stockyards, or movement of animals generally. New outbreaks in clean areas have been linked with movement of earthmoving and harvesting machinery, and transport of stock, fodder and grain from Parthenium hysterophorus infested areas.
Parthenium hysterophorus weed is an invasive annual of open land and pastures. It is unpalatable to stock, and on suitable soils in the summer rainfall tropics and sub-tropics, will quickly dominate both native and planted pastures particularly where these are overgrazed. Once dominant, Parthenium hysterophorus weed continues to persist as pure stands unless managed. Plants are capable of flowering when one month old and will remain in flower for 6-8 months when conditions are suitable.
Seeds remain viable on the soil surface for up to two years, or longer if there is no rain to stimulate germination. Buried seed may become dormant and remain viable for much longer periods .In India , Parthenium hysterophorus weed quickly invades disturbed soils such as overgrazed pastures and newly cleared or eroded lands, where it remains dominant unless the appropriate management techniques are applied. Management requires de-stocking to allow grass growth, followed by the reduction of stocking rates by about 40% to prevent re-invasion.
Chippendale, J.F. and Panetta, F.D. (1994)studied the cost of Parthenium hysterophorus, weed to the Queensland cattle industry .He stated that Parthenium hysterophorus weed commonly dominates cultivated and other disturbed areas, in addition to flood-prone pastures. The presence of Parthenium hysterophorus in cropped lands can almost double cultivation costs and restrict the sale and movement of contaminated produce. In 1990 – 1991, a mail survey of beef producers was conducted in the most heavily infested region in central Queensland. Annual losses caused by this weed were found to be in the vicinity of $16.5m. Losses comprised opportunity costs (e.g. reduced stock numbers and live weight gains), as well as additional production and control costs. Increased expenditure on research into Parthenium hysterophorus, control (especially biological control, for which research expenditure was approximately $350 000 during 1990 – 1991) is thus warranted. (1)
Navie, S.C., McFadyen, R.E., Panetta, F.D., Adkins, S.W., 1996. introduced biotypes of Parthenium Hysterophorus .Two biotypes of Parthenium hysterophorus L. have established in Australia as a result of two separate introductions from the USA. The first introduction occurred in south-east Queensland and the second in central Queensland. Nine plants from each of the biotypes were grown under a day/night temperature regime of 23/13°C and 14.5 hour photoperiod in a plant growth cabinet for a period of five months. (2)
Adkins, S.W., Navie S.C., McFadyen R.E, 1996, studied the harmful effect and control of Parthenium Weed (Parthenium Hysterophorus L.)in southern Asia , and found that It causes direct losses to the grazing industry (about $A 14-18 million per annum) and is a human health hazard, causing allergic rhinitis and contact dermatitis. It has had an on-going campaign to reduce the spread and impact of this public nuisance. However, the weed has never-the-less continued to increase and spread. Chemical control is possible but is too expensive to control all infestations over such large areas. Biological control is feasible and the search for natural control agents is on-going. The Centre for Tropical Pest Management (CTPM) seeks to develop and implement cost-effective, environmentally friendly methods of control for Parthenium hysterophorus weed. This is achieved through collaborative research and technology exchange and concerns the topics of biology and ecology and biocontrol. An additional component is looking at ways of transferring the knowledge generated into the agricultural communies (3)
Adane Kebede Gebeyehu (2008) studied The distributions of Parthenium weed and explained that The weed is widely distributed in north-eastern parts of the Woreda. Results also showed that from all the sample species Parthenium hysterophorus was found to be the most abundant in road sides (49.1%). Field survey results showed that all the interviewed farmers were aware of P. hysterophorus, its ways of introduction into their locality, the agents facilitating its dissemination and places where Parthenium hysterophorus is densely populated. Farmers are generally aware of the impacts of Parthenium hysterophorus. The impacts are on crop production (44%), livestock (30.6%), on human health (18.8%) and has no any benefits attached to environment. This study revealed that P. hysterophorus has become a major pest plant of the wasteland, road sides, wet lands, vacant sites and crop fields and it has the potential to spread all over the Woreda. Hence it has a significant effect on the economic development of the study area. Integration of different control methods are therefore needed to prevent and control the danger of Parthenium hysterophorus.(4)
Mc Fadyen, R.E. (1995).studied Parthenium weed it’s effects on human health in Queensland.. Allergic reactions to the pollen and plant dust of the Parthenium weed are causing major health problems , which can be expected to increase, especially as the pasture weed is rapidly spreading south. This paper reviews published information on health aspects of this weed and calls attention to its spread into areas with much greater population. (5)
McFadyen, R.E. ; McClay, A.S., Palmer,W.A., Bennett, F.D., Pullen, K.R. (1995)devoted their study to the biological control against Parthenium hysterophorus weed in Australia.. He concluded that The moth Epiblema strenuana, is exerting significant control on the weed. The moth larvae form galls in the Parthenium stems and shoots; damage by several larvae stunts plants and reduces seed production. Unfortunately, the erratic climate interferes with the control: long dry periods reduce the moth population to very low levels so that when the Parthenium hysterophorus germinates after rain there is inadequate control. (6-7)
The problem is that people are not looking at it as an issue. But if we remain reluctant it will become a bigger problem.
Aim of this study is to biological control of Parthenium hysterophorus in Surguja district and to see how we can handle the weed in the no man’s land in India .
This study is planning to deal with the weed using uprooting it and apply some bugs to eat the weed also an antagonistic effects of some other herbs would be applied for the control of Parthenium hysterophorus .also the pathogens for Parthenium hysterophorus would be studied for it’s eradication .
In the meantime, this study is going to keep monitoring and creating awareness about the dangers of this weed.
This study would bring an idea to to deal with Parthenium Hysterophorus , the congress weed using biological control methods i.e. uprooting , antagonistic effect of other herbs , application bugs to kill this weed and pathogen on Parthenium Hysterophorus should control it .
Since it has a strong root which may bear branches ,so that the chemical herbicides could not control it. Biological control of Parthenium Hysterophorus would result a Parthenium free Surguja and the allergic and respiratory diseases causing by Parthenium Hysterophorus would be controlled with the control of Parthenium Hysterophorus. So that this topic has taken for research study .