Invasive plants have a bigger impact than we imagine

Susana Clusella-Trullas, Stellenbosch University and Raquel A Garcia, Stellenbosch University This article is the fifth in a series The Conversation Africa is running on invasive species. Most people would agree that invasive plants are unwanted. Invasive plants are plants that are intentionally or accidentally introduced by humans into areas outside of their natural habitat. These …

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Researchers model ways to control maize lethal necrosis

By Eldon Opiyo [NAIROBI] Researchers have used mathematical modelling to develop techniques to combat two co-infecting viruses causing maize lethal necrosis (MLN) in Kenya. According to researchers who conducted the new study, because maize is a staple crop in Sub-Saharan Africa, the spread of MLN is threatening food security in the region. Nik Cunniffe, a …

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Ornamental plant in Kenya becomes invasive

By Verenardo Meeme     In this video, scientists explain the dangers of Opuntia stricta — an invasive cactus weed — covering large tracts of land in Kenya’s semi-arid Laikipia County, making lives of people, domestic animals as well as wildlife miserable, and efforts in place to tame its spread and adverse impacts. O. stricta, …

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Why Africa needs adequate plant surveillance

By Mustafa O. Jibrin To tackle devastating crop diseases, Africa should boost regional plant surveillance, writes Mustafa O. Jibrin.   Recently, a tomato insect pest, Tuta absoluta, swept across Nigeria, devastating tomato fields and leading to immeasurable financial losses and emotional trauma. T. absoluta originated from the Andean region in South America. The invasive nature …

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Plant medicine R&D helps scientist win science prize

By Nasseem Ackbarally [PORT LOUIS] A Malagasy phytochemist, Philippe Rasoanaivo, is the winner of the 2015 Olusegun Obasanjo Prize administered by the African Academy of Sciences (AAS). His work on Hazolava — a traditional plant in Madagascar — which may be important for treating psychiatric and sleep disorders, convulsions and male sexual dysfunction led to …

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