Current approaches to Alectra vogelii control in cowpea
Alectra vogelii (L.) Benth is a parasitic weed in the family Scrophulariaceae that causes substantial damage by attaching onto the cowpea, Vigna unguiculata (L. Walp.) plant and tapping nutrients from it. Cowpea is one of the most important food legumes and is widely adapted to semi-arid environments in Africa. The crop is extensively grown in the dry land tropics were its grain is used as food, fresh pods as a vegetable, leaves as spinach, and haulms as a nutritious fodder for livestock. However, the grain yields of cowpea are generally low as a result of several edaphic and abiotic constraints, such as attack by A. vogelli. Breeding for host resistance in cowpea has been suggested as an efficient means of controlling the weed. While labor-intensive control strategies based on cultural practices exist, they could be helpful only in the short term. The use of herbicides as a control measure is too expensive for resource-limited farming families. Therefore, using resistant varieties is potentially an easy, effective and economical method of controlling A. vogelli.
Keywords: Alectra vogelli, Blackeye, genes, parasitism, resistance