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PREVALENCE OF ALIEN WEED PARTHENIUM HYSTEROPHORUS L. IN GRAZING AND WASTELANDS OF DISTRICT ATTOCK, PAKISTAN.

Byline: T. Riaz and A. Javaid

ABSTRACT

Surveys of waste and grazing lands from 9 localities of the district Attock were undertaken during March-April, 2009 to study the distribution of alien weed parthenium (Parthenium hysterophorus L.) in comparison with the other weed species of the area. A total of 58 weed species belonging to 25 angiospermic families, were found growing in the studied area. Fourteen weed species, including parthenium were found to be growing in all the 9 surveyed sites exhibiting 100% prevalence. Parthenium was found to be the most frequently occurring species in the area with absolute frequency (AF) of 60% and relative frequency (RF) of 4.52%. Parthenium was also the most densely populated weed in the area exhibiting an absolute density (AD) of 19.4 and relative density (RD) of 0.67%. The second most frequently occurring and densely populated weed in the area was Achyranthes asper L.

The present study concludes that parthenium has become one of the major weeds in district Attock. There is an urgent need to take some appropriate measures to stop its further spread in the area.

Key words: Alien weed, Attock, Pakistan, Parthenium hysterophorus.

INTRODUCTION

After accidental introduction of pparthenium (Parthenium hysterophorus L.) in India in the mid-1950s through imported food grains, it has been documented as invasive weed in this continent (Chandras and Vartak, 1970). Then it has spread over most parts of the neighboring countries including Pakistan where this weed is rapidly spreading in parts of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtoon Khawa and Kashmir (Javaid and Anjum, 2005). It is now growing profusely in open spaces, grassland, wasteland and also sometimes in cultivated areas in different parts of the country (Riaz et al., 2007; Javaid et al., 2009).

The invasive nature of this weed is due to its ability to form huge monocultural stands with no other plant in the vicinity. That is why it has rapidly substituted local weed flora. Various reports have declared it as noxious weed due to its potential to decrease the crop productivity, fodder scarcity, biodiversity depletion and health problems for livestock and human causing hay fever, skin problems and asthma (McFadyen, 1995; Evans, 1997; Javaid 2010). Attock is a part of Pothwar plateau located on the watershed of the Attock River and its adjoining hilly areas. The elevation of this area ranges between 1000 to 1145 feet above sea level. The major soil types are loamy eroded loess and shallow residual with some gullied land. Crop cultivation generally depends upon rainfall pattern. Land use type is largely for agricultural purposes without systematic irrigation systems and the intensity of cultivation is relatively low.

Earlier studies regarding the distribution of parthenium have been carried out mostly in plains of Punjab including district Lahore, Sialkot, Sheikhupura, Hafizabad and Okara (Javaid and Anjum, 2005; Javaid et al., 2005, 2006; Javaid and Riaz, 2007; Riaz and Javaid, 2007, 2010). Very few studies regarding the distribution of parthenium have been undertaken in Pothwar regions (Shabbir and Bajwa 2006; Riaz and Javaid, 2009). The present survey was, therefore, undertaken to study the distribution of parthenium in district Attock.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

The city of Attock is located at a latitude 33.77 N and longitude 72.36 E. It is bordered by Haripur and Swabi district of NWFP to the North of the district. This district is a junction between Punjab and NWFP provinces. Its total area is 6857 km2 with elevation 9040 ft. The climate of the region presents extremes of heat and cold. There are four well defined seasons viz. winter (December - February), spring (March - April), summer (May - September) and autumn (October - November). The area receives highest rainfall during monsoon months of July and August.

Nine waste and grazing lands were selected in surroundings of Attock viz. City, Gulberg Town, Shamsabad, Faqirabad, Kamra, Burhan, Jalloo, Hassanabdal and Attock Cantonment during March-April 2009. At each of the 9 selected sites, a 1 ha area was demarcated. Sampling was done with a 1 m2 quadrate. Ten quadrates were randomly thrown at each sampling site. Data regarding prevalence, absolute frequency, relative frequency, absolute density and relative density of target weed P. hysterophorous and local weed flora were recorded by applying the following formulae following Javaid et al. (2009):

Prevalence (%) = No. of sites in which a species occurss x 100

Total No. of sites

Absolutferequency AF)(%) = No.of quadrateisn whicha speciesoccurs x 100

TotalNo.of quadrate

Relative frequency (RF) (%) = Absolute frequency value for a species

Total absolute frequency values x 100

for all species

Absolute density (AD) = Total No. of individuals of a species in all quadrates x 100

Total No. of quadrate

Relative density (RD) (%) = Absolute density for a species x 100

Total absolute density for all species

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

A total of 58 plant species belonging to 25 angiospermic families were recorded from the studied area. Maximum number of species (10) belonged to family Asteraceae followed by Poaceae (9), Polygonaceae and Brassicaceae (4 each), Solanaceae and Papillionaceae (3 each), Amaranthaceae, Convolvulaceae, Euphorbiaceae and Malvaceae (2 each). There was one species of each of the rest 15 families (Table 1). Parthenium was found in all the nine studied sites exhibiting 100% prevalence. Among other 58 species, 14 showed 100% prevalence and 13 showed more than 70% prevalence. The species exhibited comparatively low prevalence were Circium arvense, Dactyloctenium aegyptium, Erianthus munja, Polygonum barbatum, Rumex nepalensis and Datura alba (40% each) (Table 1).

Parthenium was found to be the most frequently occurring species in the area with absolute frequency (AF) of 60% and relative frequency (RF) of 4.52%. The weed Achyranthes asper exhibited the second highest AF and RF of 58% and 4.44%, respectively. The least frequently occurring species in the area were Capsella bursa-pastoris and Mazus goodenifolia with AF of 4% each, and RF 0.30% and 0.03% respectively (Table 1).

The most densely populated weed in the area was Parthenium hysterophorus that exhibited an absolute density (AD) of 19.4 and relative density (RD) of 0.67%. Achyranthes asper was found to be the second most densely populated weed in the surveyed area with AD of 16.1 and RD of 0.55%. The other densely populated weeds which showed AD above 10.0 were Calotropis procera (16.0%), Cynodon dactylon (13.7%), Dicanthium annulatum (12.4%) and Cannabis sativa (14.8%). Other weed species with fairly high AD of less than 10 were Eclipta alba, Amaranthus viridis, Coronopus didymus, Convolvulus arvensis, Cyperus rotundus, Euphorbia prostrata, Oxalis corniculata, Eragrostis poaeoides and Rumex dentatus (Table 1).

Among the 58 species, 10 belonged to family Asteraceae. All these species exhibited 50-100% prevalence and AF frequency of 7-59% showing that the prevailing edaphic and environmental conditions of the area are highly conducive for the distribution and growth of Asteraceous species. The environment is especially well appropriate for the alien weed parthenium that exhibited 100% prevalence, 59% absolute frequency and a high absolute density of 19.4 plants m-2. Although parthenium was introduced in India in 1950s through imported food grains (Evans, 1997), however, its presence in different parts of the Punjab, Pakistan was noticed only during the last 15-20 years (Javaid and Anjum, 2005).

During this short period it has become most frequently occurring and densely populated weed in the studied area. It may attain a height of up to 2 meters under favorable conditions. Similar domination of parthenium at waste and grazing lands has also been reported in districts Lahore, Sheikhupura, Okara, Nankana Sahib, Hafizabad, Wah Cantt and Sialkot as well as in Capital city of Islamabad (Javaid et al., 2005, 2006; Shabbir and Bajwa, 2006; Javaid and Riaz, 2007, 2010). Many factors are responsible for rapid spread of parthenium in Pakistan. The most important factor is that this weed is an extremely prolific seed producer, with up to 25,000 seeds per plant (Navie et al., 1996), and with an enormous seed bank, estimated at 200,000 seeds m-1 in abandoned fields (Joshi, 1991). Furthemore, being a very fast maturing annual, generally plants commence flowering when they are 4 to 8 weeks old and may flower for several months.

In addition, Parthenium exhibit allelopathy and inhibits the germination and growth of neighboring plants by releasing various allelochemicals such as water soluble phenolics and sesquiterpene lactones including parthenin and coronopilin (Kanchan, 1975; Picman and Picman, 1984). Generally animals do not eat parthenium and hence it is growing and spreading at a very fast rate. Lastly, the lack of natural enemies of this weed in Pakistan is also contributing to a large extent in the rapid spread of this weed in Pakistan. Due to its high reproductive and allelopathic potential, fast growth rate and lack of natural enemies, parthenium may confiscate the status of local dominating weeds from the Pothwar areas in near future. There is an urgent need to take appropriate measures to check further spread of this alien weed in the region.

Table 1: Prevalence, frequency and density of alien weed Parthenium and native weeds in District Attock.

###P###AF###RF###RD

Species###Family###(%)###(%)###AD###(%)

Parthenium hyslerophorus L.###Asteraceae###100###60###4.52###19.4###0.67

Carthamus oxyacantha (M.) Bieb.###70###10###0.84###2.0###0.06

Centaurea calcitrapa L.###80###20###1.37###2.5###0.08

Circium arvense L.###40###10###0.53###0.7###0.24

Conyza bonariensis (L.) Cronq.###70###20###1.37###3.5###0J2

Eclipta alba L.###100###30###2.37###7.9###0.27

Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn.###90###26###1.99###4.7###0.16

Sonchus asper(L.) Hill###100###24###1.83###4.5###0.15

Launea nudicaulis Less.###70###16###1.22###2.6###0.09

XanthiumstrumariumL.###50###22###1.68###4.8###0.16

TrianthemapentandraBennei.###Aizoaceae###70###10###0.76###4.0###0J3

Achyranthes asper L.###Amaranthaceae###100###58###4.44###16.1###0.55

Amaranthus viridis L.###100###30###2.29###6.8###0.23

Calotropisprocera Br.###Asclepiadaceae###100###49###3.75###16.0###0.55

Heliotropium indicum L.###Boraginaceae###70###16###12.2###2.80###0.09

Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik.###Brassicaceae###30###04###0.30###0.6###0.02

Coronopus didymus (L.) Smith###100###35###2.68###8.0###0.27

Lepidium sativum L.###80###29###2.22###4.0###0.13

Sisymbrium irio L.###60###10###0.76###2.0###0.06

Opuntia monacantha Haw.###Cactaceae###50###14###1.07###2.2###0.07

Chenopodium album L.###Chenopodicaeae###90###27###2.06###4.4###0.15

Convolvulus arvensis L.###Convolvulaceae###80###27###2.06###5.3###0.18

Cuscuta refiexa###60###10###0.76###1.7###0.05

Sedum hispanicum L.###Crssaulaceae###70###19###1.45###2.9###0.10

Cyperus rotundus L.###Cyperaceae###100###45###3.44###7.0###0.24

Euphorbia. prostrata L.###Euphorbiaceae###80###17###1.30###5.9###0.20

Crotonspars~florusMorong###70###17###1.30###3.6###0.12

Malvaparv?flora L###Malvaceae###60###24###1.83###3.1###0.10

Malvestrum tricuspidatum (A.) Gray###70###20###1.53###3.8###0J3

Boerhavia d~[fusa L.###Nyctaginaceae###80###25###1.91###5.1###0.17

Oxalis corniculata L.###Oxalidaceae###80###32###2.45###7.8###0.27

Astragalus scorplurus Bunge.###Papillionaceae###50###11###0.84###1.3###0.04

Medicago saliva L.###60###07###0.53###0.8###0.02

MedicagolaciniataL.###60###15###1.14###3.4###0.11

Melilotus saliva L.###60###16###1.22###3.3###0.11

Cenchrus bWorus Roxb.###Poaceae###100###48###3.67###1.52###0.52

Cynodon dactylon Pers.###100###56###4.29###13.7###0.47

Dactyloctenium aegyptium Beauv.###40###13###0.99###1.7###0.05

Dicanthium annulatum Stapf.###100###50###3.83###12.4###0.43

Eragrostispoaeoides Beauv.###100###42###3.21###9.1###0.31

Erianthus munja L.###40###08###0.61###1.0###0.03

Imperata cylindrica (L.) Beauv.###90###7###1.30###2.7###0.09

PoaannuaL.###60###14###1.07###3.5###0.12

SorghumhelepenseL.###70###15###1.14###3.3###0.11

Polygonum barbatum L.###Polygonaceae###40###06###0.45###1.1###0.03

PolygonumplebegumL.###50###15###1.14###2.3###0.07

Rumex dentatus L.###100###33###2.52###8.6###0.29

Rumex nepalensis sprenger.###40###07###0.53###1.1###0.03

Portulaca oleracea L.###Portulacaceae###80###21###1.60###3.9###0.13

Anagallis arvensis L.###Primulaceae###50###10###0.76###1.5###0.05

Mazus gooden~folia Horneum. (Penn.)###Serophulariaceae###50###04###0.03###1.9###0.06

Solanum nigrum L.###Solanaceae###90###18###1.37###2.1###0.07

Datura alba Nees###40###3###0.99###0.6###0.02

Withaniasomin?teraL.###90###15###1.14###4.0###0.13

Cannabis saliva L.###Urticacea###100###54###4.13###14.8###0.51

Lantana camara L.###Verbenaceae###70###09###0.68###1.5###0.05

Verbena tenuisecta L.###70###0###0.76###1.9###0.06

Tribulus terrestris L###Zygophyllaceae###80###28###2.14###5.30###0.18.18

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T. Riaz and A. Javaid

Institute of Agricultural Sciences University of the Punjab, Quaid-e-Azam Campus Lahore, Pakistan. - Corresponding author's e-mail: arshadjpk@yahoo.com
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Publication:Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Sep 30, 2011
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