Biology and Management of Cuscuta species
Field dodder (Cuscuta campestris) is an annual obligate stem parasite belonging to family Cuscutaceae. The genus Cuscuta is comprised of about 175 species worldwide. Out of 12 species reported from India, C. campestris and C. reflexa are more common. It is a major problem in pulses, oilseeds and fodder crops in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Orissa, West Bengal and parts of Madhya Pradesh under rainfed as well as in irrigated conditions. It reproduces mainly by seeds and unlike root parasites, Cuscuta seeds do not require a specific stimulant to induce germination. The yield reductions due to Cuscuta are reported to the tune of 60–65% in chillies, 31–34% in greengram/blackgram, 60–65% in niger, 87% in lentil, 86% in chickpea, 72% in tomatao and 60–70% in alfalfa depending upon its intensity of infestation. Cuscuta can be controlled by using Cuscuta free crop seeds, harrowing in crop rows before it parasitizes the host, cultural practices like tillage, planting time, crop rotation and intercropping, selection of Cuscuta tolerant varieties and use of selective herbicides like pendimethalin, fluchloralin and pronamide. If the infestation is in patches, it can be easily controlled by spraying non-selective herbicides such as glyphosate and paraquat. In this paper, an attempt has been made to review the research work done on biology and management of Cuscuta in India and elsewhere.
Biology, losses, control measures, host.