Artemisia annua Herbicidal Effect
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Dr. Atul Mittle
Posted on: January 23, 2000

Artemisia annua is known to provide an anti malarial drug. It is also known to have herbicidal effect. I need to know in detail about its herbicidal properties.

There was a study sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service into the allelopathic effect of Artemisia annua. That study concluded that the leaves of the plant contained "promising natural chemicals with phytotoxic activity." Below is a summary of the work from the ARS website (www.nal.usda.gov).

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ALLELOPATHIC ACTIVITY OF ANNUAL WORMWOOD (ARTEMISIA ANNUA) AND THE ROLE OF ARTEMISININ

Lydon, John, Teasdale, John R; Chen, Peter K.

Interpretive Summary:

To expand our knowledge of the use of biologicals for weed control, a series of experiments were conducted with leaf tissue, leaf-tissue extracts, and pure artemisinin from annual wormwood (Artemisia annua) to determine their phytotoxic effects on weed and crop species. Materials were incorporated into soil before seeding with the test species and plants were grown in a greenhouse. The results demonstrated that soil-incorporated annual wormwood leaves were selectively phytotoxic, having a greater effect on small seeded weeds than large seeded crops. The leaf-tissue extracts contained constituents that were as toxic to plants as the soil-incorporated leaf tissue. Treatments with pure artemisinin, one of the major chemical constituents of annual wormwood, were less effective than the leaf material or non-polar extract. The results demonstrated that annual wormwood contains promising natural chemicals with phytotoxic activity, and that residues of or chemicals from annual wormwood might be useful in controlling small seeded weed species in large seed crops. The knowledge obtained from this study will be of benefit to scientists studying alternative weed control strategies.

For more information, contact the ARS at 10300 Baltimore Blvd., Room 105, Building 264, BARC-EAST, Beltsville, MD 20705, United States, or fax +1-301-504-6491.

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