Striga asiatica (L.) O. Kuntze

Striga asiatica (L.) O. Kuntze




Striga lutea Lour.

Vernacular Names


Rumput siku-siku (Peninsular).




Baruwang, jukut cancang (Sundanese), rajatawa (Javanese).

Papua New Guinea

Hometa kasu kavu (Kami, Eastern Highlands).


Ya mae mot (Central).


Vo[of]ng ph[as] v[af]ng.

Geographical Distributions

Striga asiatica has an extremely large area of distribution: from tropical and southern Africa and Madagascar, through western Asia and India, to Burma (Myanmar), Indo-China, southern China, Thailand and the Malesian region (recorded in Peninsular Malaysia, Java, the Philippines and New Guinea, probably also occurring elsewhere). It has been introduced in North America.


Striga asiatica is a small, annual, erect herb that can grow up to 40 cm tall. Its stem is simple or sparsely branched and quadrangular.

The leaves are arranged opposite in lower part of the plant, alternate in upper part, simple, linear, measuring 5-15 mm x 1-1.5 mm, entire, hirsute on both surfaces and sessile. The stipules are absent.

The inflorescence is an axillary bracteate spike and sparsely flowered. The flowers are bisexual and with 2 bracteoles at the base of the sepal. The sepal is tubular, measures 5-6 mm long, with 5 stout ribs and subequally 5-lobed. The petal is 10-13 mm long and with tube abruptly incurved at apex, shortly glandular-pilose outside with spreading limb and 2-lipped. The upper lip is obtriangular and emarginated while the lower lip is 3-lobed, yellow and often scarlet inside. There are 4 stamens that are inserted near the top of the petal tube, didynamous, included and with short filaments. The ovary is superior, ellipsoid and 2-celled. The style is slender while the stigma is capitate.

The fruit is an ovoid or spherical capsule, measures 3-5 mm long and many-seeded.The seeds are 0.3 mm long, broadly spindle-shaped and striate. Seedling is grown in the soil about 4-6 weeks with white, rounded and bearing scale-leaves. Their leaves are arranged opposite to alternate, later change to green, 4-angular, and densely hairy when emerge above the ground.

Ecology / Cultivation

Striga asiatica is a hemiparasite on the roots of grasses. It may be a serious pest in crops, e.g. upland rice, maize and sorghum in Africa, and upland rice, maize, millet and sugar cane in India. Under more natural conditions, it occurs in deciduous forest, grasslands, along roadsides and in abandoned fields, up to 2000 m altitude. S. asiatica does not grow well in high rainfall areas. It prefers sandy and well-drained soils, but can also grow on clayey soils.

Line Drawing / Photograph



1.       Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.12(3): Medicinal and poisonous plants 3.