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Identification of weed seeds of some species belong to Asteraceae in Setifian high plateau.


The identification of weed seeds interest selecteds and officials bodies charged with the control of the specific purity of seeds lots. For botanists the observation of seeds is an element of the confirmation of the identification. Present observation has been carried out on the study of the morphological characteristics of the widespread weeds seeds in the north east of Algeria (the Setifian high plateau). Eight characteristics were used to identify twenty species of seeds which belong to Asteraceae family. The morphological characteristics in which the study was based on are: shape, color, size (length, breadth), solidity, brightness, surface, Appendages, weight per 100seeds. Considerable differences were noticed between the various species of weeds seeds. The study of morphological characteristics of seeds allows identifying the different seeds mixed with cultivated plant, it also allows knowing the various species of weeds in fields. So such studies help to develop different strategies to control weeds.

KEYWORDS: Weed, Seed, Identification, Asteraceae, Morphological characters.


Plant species are considered weeds when they interfere with man's activities or his welfare. Such plants grow where they are not wanted, they reduce yield and quality of crop [13]. The predominance of a weed species is the result of high capacity for reproduction and efficient mechanism for dispersal, survival, adaptation and competition[19]. Accurate weed identification is the first step in a successful weed management program. Weed species respond differently to different management strategies. Whether you choose chemical, cultural or mechanical control measures, you need to know what weed species are present[5]. Failure to identify the weed problem accurately may lead to wasted time and money or excess pesticide applied to the environment. Because most weeds are most effectively controlled at a very young stage, it is important to identify them as early as possible. Unfortunately, many weeds look very similar at a young stage [17], [22].

Compositae (Astesaceae) is one of the largest plant families consisting of herbaceous plants with only few exceptions. It is cosmopolitan in distribution, occurring in all continents. The family is most abundant in mountain sub-tropical latitude. It is highly evolved family among angiosperms and is generally regarded as occupying the highest position in plant kingdom due to its great preponderance and cosmopolitan range. The family comprises [+ or -] 1535 genera and over c.2300 species distributed in 3 subfamilies and 17 tribes[1]. It is also the largest plant family in Algeria, represented by over 408 species and 109 genera [8].

Weed seeds are difficult to manage because they are small, abundant, and produce a lot of seed. Weeds are one of the most significant limiting factors in agricultural production. Weeds compete strongly with crops for light, water and nutrients. This brings about severe interference with normal crop growth, causing high crop losses and reducing the quality of produce. Most annual weeds produce a prolific number of seeds each year. Production of abundant small seeds is a common adaptation that ensures a high probability of dispersal and re-infestation [20].

Seed is a vital genetic source and dispersal unit between successive generation of plants, and it possesses very reliable and constant characters in various groups of seed plants. Seed morphological studies have great value and these characters can be individually used as a beneficial tool for the identification of plant species at various levels[7], [23]. Identification of weed seeds from overseas countries can be problematic, particularly when diagnostic tools are lacking or incomplete. A well trained seed analyst will usually be able to identify seed to generic level but not always to the species level [17]. Seed Identification can be both a science and an art. Some seed scientists use "seed keys" to identify seeds, others visualization, and most use both depending upon what experience they have in the field and what they are trying to identify. Unfortunately, only the most common agricultural and weed seeds have been described, drawn, or photographed. This makes identifying less common seeds harder[21].


Plant material:

In this study Seeds of 20 different species of asteraceae were collected from various crop fields located in the region of Setifian high plateau which situated in the north east of Algeria between the two longitude 5[degrees]and 6[degrees]and between the two laltitudes35[degrees]. 40 and 36[degrees].35. After maturation of the seed we collect as many as possible, we put the seed in paper bags to keep it dry and to avoid humidity and climatic factors which lead to germinating these seeds, they were kept in normal condition of laboratory.

Morphological characteristics:

Seeds morphological discrimination is related to external description of all the characteristics of seed. The study requires taking 05 seeds randomly of each species [3]. Apparent substantial information helps researchers to identify or describe seeds. the work on the identification starts by collecting seeds from fields then study it thoroughly in the laboratory where researchers often observe it by naked eyes, in addition to the reliance on references and researches concerning describing seeds to make the study effective and successful it must be conducted carefully with continual vigilance because of the smallness of some seeds so we use magnifying glass, the optical microscope and pocket lamp to see the different external parts of seeds [16]. The morphological characteristics in which the study was based on were used by different researchers for example the characteristics like size, weight, color and shape were used as suggested by various workers [4], [9], [10]. As well as other some researchers who bear on other characteristics such as solidity, brightness, surface [2], Appendages [18]. Generally the characteristics were used in this study are the result of the most important characteristics which were used in the different researches of seeds identification.


The study of morphological characteristics of seeds allows identifying the different seeds mixed with cultivated plant, it also allows knowing the various species of weeds in fields. So such studies help to develop different strategies to control weeds.

We found that, as expected, size, color and shape characteristics have larger discriminating power than solidity, brightness and weight per 100 seeds, that was confirmed by [11] and [6]. The identifying characters described and used in this publication are found only on the external surface of the seeds. Their usefulness for identification varies. Characters of major importance are color, size and shape of the seed [3], [12]. Other characters used in conjunction with these features have limited use.

We found that the single character is not enough to distinguish the species because the seeds of more than one species posses same mean value however their standard deviations vary. But the consideration of these characteristics collectively was found unique in this study. So these characteristics may serve as a convenient method for identification and classification of weeds on the basis of their seed bank available in the soil[4]. However, according to[15] the Variation in seed size is an important character for evolutionary plant ecologists. Variation occurs at several biological levels, from differences between species to within-individual variation. Seed heteromorphic is a special case of within-individual variation in seed size. involves the production by single individual plants of seeds of different morphology. In several species, differentiation in morphology is accompanied by a difference in seed size [14].


The analysis and classification of seeds are essential activities contributing to the final added value in crop production. In other situations, contaminant weed seeds may be difficult to find and identify. When seeds contaminate soil, their small size and color can make them difficult to find. These activities are performed at different stages of the global process, including seed production, cereal grading for industrialization or commercialization purposes, during scientific research for improvement of species, etc. For all these purposes, specialized technicians are employed.

In most cases, these methods are slow, have low reproducibility, and possess a degree of subjectivity hard to quantify, both in their commercial as well as in their technological implications. It is then of

major technical and economical importance to implement new methods for reliable and fast identification and classification of seeds. Like ocular identification work, automatic classification should be based on knowledge of seed size, shape and color.

Seed descriptions are based on sound seed and what is generally considered normal. With any seed there can be variations from the norm due to: maturity, environmental factors such as weathering, disease and other factors which may change the visual features of the seeds. These factors can impact on the size, shape, color and overall appearance of a given seed.

The following research deals with the identification of the most morphological characteristics which help to describe seeds in order to know them, so the identification of the species which strength compete with the cultivated plant, the main purpose is attempting to find the effective methods in control to increase production and to try to attain sufficiency.


[1] Akbar, A.M., M. Rajabkhan, 2006. Palynological observations on the genus calendula (Calenduleae-Compositae) Pak. J. Bot., 38(3): 511-520.

[2] Assogbadjo, A.E., B. Sinsin, P. Van Damme, 2005. Caracteres morphologiques et production des capsules de boabab (Adansonia digitata L.) au Benin. EDP Sciences, Fruits, 60(5): 327-340.

[3] Baciu, A.D., R. Sestras, 2008. Study of the main characteristics of seeds belonging to different genotypes of calendula. Bulletin UASVM, Horticulture, 65(1).

[4] Bakhch, A., A.A. Dasti, A. Munir, I. Khaliq, M. Amin ud Din, M.S. Akhtar, 2006. Studies on shape, size and weight of certain weed seeds buried in the soil seed bank. Pak..J.Weed Sci. Res., 12(1-2): 79-82.

[5] Batalha, V.S., QU. S. Garcia, 2007. Variation between three Eremanthus (Asteraceae) species in their ability to form a seed bank. Revista Brasil. Bot., 30(4): 713-719.

[6] Bell, K., N. Vidal, S. Symons, 2000. Visual Identification of Small Oilseeds and Weed Seed Contaminants. Grain Biology Bulletin, 3: 1-39.

[7] Dje, Y., M. Heuertz, M. Ater, C. Lefebvre, X. Yekemans, 2006. Evaluation de la diversite morphologique des traditionnelles de sorgho du Nord-ouest du Maroc. Bio.Agr.Sos. p: 1370-6233,12: 1-6.

[8] Fenni, M., 2003. Study of weeds of winter cereals Constantine high plains, ecology, dynamics, phenology and biology of brome, Doc. Thesis, Biol. Inst., Setif, pp: 165.

[9] Granitto, P.M., H.D. Navone, P.F. Verdes, H.A. 2000. Automatic identification of weed seeds by color image processing. Ceccatto Instituto de Fisica Rosario (CONICET--Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Argentina, p: 1-8.

[10] Granitto Pablo, M., Hugo D. Navone, Pablo F. Verdes, H.A. Ceccatto, 2002. Weed seeds identification by machine vision Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. Elsevier B.V. 33: 91-103.

[11] Granitto, P.M., P.A. Garralda, P.F. Verdes, H.A. Ceccatto, 2003. Boosting classifiers for weed seeds identification. J.C.S.and T. 3(1): 34-39.

[12] Granitto, P.M., P.F. Verdes, H.A. Ceccatto, 2004. Large- scale investigation of weed seed identification by machine vision. Elsevier B.V. 47: 15-24.

[13] Groth, D., 1998. Morphological characterization of four weed seeds of Ipomoea L. (Convolvulaceae). Revista Brasileriade Sementes, 20(1): 75-79.

[14] Hani, M., M. Fenni, S. Bouharati, 2011. Fuzzy Inference System for Identification of Cereals Weeds Seeds. Journal of Environmental Science and Engineering, 5: 1337-1342.

[15] Imbert, E., J. Escarre, J. Lepart, 1997. Seed heteromorphism in Crepis sancta (Asteraceae): performance of two morphs in different environments.--Oikos, 79: 325-332.

[16] Irie, A., B. Zoro, K.K. Kevin, Y. Dje, 2003. Caracterisation botanique et agronomique de trios especes de cucurbits consommes en sauce en Afrique de l'Ouest: Citrullus sp.Cucumeropsis mannii Naudin et Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standl. Biotechnol.Agron.Soc.Environ., 7(3-4): 189-199.

[17] James, T.K., P.D. Champion, C.A. Dowsett, M.R. McNeill, G.J. Houliston, 2014. Identification of weed seeds in soil samples intercepted at the New Zealand border. Biosecurity,New Zealand Plant Protection, 67: 26-33.

[18] Jana, B., R. Bar, S. Mukherjee, 2013. Structural variations of cypselas of some taxa of the tribe Calenduleae (Asteraceae), on the basis of morphological observation. International Journal of Research in Bio Sciences, 2(1) 53-58.

[19] Khalid, S., R.A. Shad, 1990. Importance of structure and shape in the spread and adaptability of weed seed. Pakistan J. Agrico.Res., 11: 2.

[20] Lebazda, R., M. Fenni, M. Hani, H. Boukhebti, 2016. A survey of weed seed production in vegetable crops of Setifian high plateau. Advances in Environmental Biology, 10(11): 131-136.

[21] Lonchamp, J.P., P. Mathey, 1998. Sementia: Logiciel d'identification des semences de mauvaises herbes. Lab. Mal. Agr.I.N.R.A.Dijon (1998) 17: 91-98.

[22] Parkinson, H.J. Mangoldand M. Fabian, 2013. Weed Seedling Identification. Montana State University Extension, p: 160.

[23] Rubina, A., K. Durdana, M. Qaiser, 2014. Seed morphological studies on some monocot families (excluding gramineae) and their phylogenetic implications. Pak. J. Bot., 46(4): 1309-1324.

Table 1: Morphological characteristics of species seeds (Shape, Color,
Size, Surface).

Species                                         Morphological
                           Shape                Color
Scorzonera liciniata L.    Linear.              Grayish to brown.
Urospermum picroides L.    Linear.              Brown to black.
Picris echoides L.         Linear.              Yellow dark to brown.
Senecio vulgarus L.        Linear.              Brown dark to black.
Taraxacum bithynicum L.    Linear.              Yellow dark to brown.
Carduus tenuiflorus L.     Linear to obovate    Grayish pale to brown
Carduus psycnocephalus L.  Linear.              Yellow to grayish.
Centauria aspera L.        Linear to obovate    Grayish pale to brown
Cichorium intybus L.       Obovate to oblong.   Brown to black.
Centaurea sobstilialis L.  Oblong to obovate.   Grayish pale to yellow.
Sonchus oleraceus L.       Flat to obovate      Orange to brown.
Crepis vesicaria L.        Oval to oblong       Grayish to brown.
Sonchus asper L.           Obovate to elliptic  Yellow dark to brown.
Silybum marianum L.        Oval to oblong       Brown dark to black.
Onopordum acanthium L.     Oval to oblong       Grayish pale to yellow.
Scolymus grandiflorus L.   Elliptic to avate    Grayish pale to brown.
Atractylis cancellata L.   Oval to obovate      White pale to yellow
Carthamus lanatus L.       Elliptic.            Grayish to brown.
Calendula arvensis L.      Heteromorphic        Yellow to brown
Carlina acaulis L.         Obovate              Yellow to grayish.


                           Size (mm)                           Surface
Scorzonera liciniata L.    16.3[+ or -]0.66;2.27[+ or -]2.27   Reticular
Urospermum picroides L.     5.17[+ or -]0.09;0.30[+ or -]0.0   Rough.
Picris echoides L.          3.17[+ or -]0.17;0.25[+ or -]0.05  Rough.
Senecio vulgarus L.         4.3[+ or -]0.09;1.20[+ or -]0.11   Rough.
Taraxacum bithynicum L.    17.17[+ or -]1.04;1.95[+ or -]0.05  Reticular
Carduus tenuiflorus L.      4.1[+ or -]0.18;1.62[+ or -]0.15   Smooth.
Carduus psycnocephalus L.   5.10[+ or -]0.18;2.07[+ or -]0.20  Smooth.
Centauria aspera L.         3.10[+ or -]0.14;1.15[+ or -]0.05  Smooth.
Cichorium intybus L.        3.82[+ or -]0.25;1.82[+ or -]0.23  Smooth
Centaurea sobstilialis L.   4.05[+ or -]0.12;1.2[+ or -]0.08   Smooth.
Sonchus oleraceus L.        2.95[+ or -]0.12;1.35[+ or -]0.17  Rough.
Crepis vesicaria L.         2.32[+ or -]0.09;1.05[+ or -]0.09  Rough.
Sonchus asper L.            2.9[+ or -]0.08;0.95[+ or -]0.12   Rough.
Silybum marianum L.         6.00[+ or -]0.08;2.97[+ or -]0.1   Smooth.
Onopordum acanthium L.      4.77[+ or -]0.25;1.5[+ or -]0.14   Reticular
Scolymus grandiflorus L.    5.05[+ or -]0.05;3.07[+ or -]0.0   Winged.
Atractylis cancellata L.    4.97[+ or -]0.20;4.54[+ or -]0.17  Rough.
Carthamus lanatus L.        5.15[+ or -]0.17;4.25[+ or -]019   Reticular
Calendula arvensis L.       6.82[+ or -]0.12;5.15[+ or -]0.17  Spiny.
Carlina acaulis L.          6.40[+ or -]0.18;4.52[+ or -]0.09  Rough.

Table 2: Morphological characteristics of species seeds (Solidity,
Brightness, Appendages, Weight per 100 seeds).

Species                              Morphological characteristics
                           Solidity  Brightness  Appendages

Scorzonera liciniata L.    Fragile.  Pale.       Pappus.
Urospermum picroides L.    Fragile.  Pale.       Pappus.
Picris echoides L.         Fragile.  Pale.       Pappus.
Senecio vulgarus L.        Fragile.  Pale.       Pappus.
Taraxacum bithynicum L.    Fragile.  Pale.       Pappus.
Carduus tenuiflorus L.     Ridged.   Pale.       Pappus.
Carduus psycnocephalus L.  Ridged.   Pale.       Pappus.
Centauria aspera L.        Ridged.   Pale.       Pappus.
Cichorium intybus L.       Ridged.   Bright.     Pappus.
Centaurea solstilialis L.  Ridged.   Pale.       Pappus.
Sonchus oleraceus L.       Fragile.  Pale.       Pappus.
Crepis vesicaria L.        Fragile.  Pale.       Pappus.
Sonchus asper L.           Fragile.  Pale.       Pappus.
Silybum marianum L.        Ridged.   Bright.     Pappus.
Onopordum acanthium L.     Ridged.   Pale.       Pappus.
Scolymus grandiflorus L.   Fragile.  Pale.       Pappus.
Atractylis cancellata L.   Fragile.  Pale.       Pappus.
Carthamus lanatus L.       Ridged.   Bright.     Pappus.
Calendula arvensis L.      Fragile.  Pale.       Spines
Carlina acaulis L.         Ridged.   Pale.       Pappus

                           Weight per
                           100 seeds (mg)

Scorzonera liciniata L.    0.30[+ or -]0.05
Urospermum picroides L.    0.90[+ or -]0.01
Picris echoides L.         0.06[+ or -]0.01
Senecio vulgarus L.        0.02[+ or -]0.05
Taraxacum bithynicum L.    0.06[+ or -]0.11
Carduus tenuiflorus L.     0.16[+ or -]0.14
Carduus psycnocephalus L.  0.59[+ or -]0.03
Centauria aspera L.        0.30[+ or -]0.05
Cichorium intybus L.       0.25[+ or -]0.04
Centaurea solstilialis L.  0.15[+ or -]0.01
Sonchus oleraceus L.       0.03[+ or -]0.13
Crepis vesicaria L.        0.08[+ or -]0.15
Sonchus asper L.           0.03[+ or -]0.05
Silybum marianum L.        2.11[+ or -]0.25
Onopordum acanthium L.     0.43[+ or -]0.04
Scolymus grandiflorus L.   0.06[+ or -]0.01
Atractylis cancellata L.   0.09[+ or -]0.14
Carthamus lanatus L.       1.89[+ or -]0.27
Calendula arvensis L.      1.54[+ or -]0.16
Carlina acaulis L.         2.93[+ or -]0.25
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Author:Hani, Meriem; Fenni, Mohamed; Lebazda, Rafika
Publication:Advances in Environmental Biology
Article Type:Report
Date:Feb 1, 2017
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