Eradication of Sicyos angulatus in maize fields in Spain
Sicyos angulatus (Cucurbitaceae, EPPO list of invasive alien plants) is a North-American weed known in central and southern Europe since at least 1978. It has been infesting maize crops in the south-west of France and in Italy since the 1980s. Although, the plant has been reported in Spain since 1995 it was confined to the riparian forests of the river Ter in Girona. However, in 2002, it was discovered in a maize field in Lleida. By 2004, five maize fields were infested by Sycios angulatus, on an area of approximately 6 km².
As there is no official list of problematic plants, S. angulatus was therefore declared a quarantine weed in Catalunya under the “Diari Oficial de la Generalitat de Catalunya” (DOGC nùm. 4315 – 2005-02-03) which establishes compulsory control measures for this plant. Farmers must notify the authorities concerned of any occurrence of the plant, and the plant must be destroyed whenever found in fields. As a result, S. angulatus has been eradicated from Catalunya. The destruction of the plant and its seeds also implied the destruction of field crops, for which farmers received compensation. Machinery was identified as a major pathway for local spread, and cleaning of the machinery appeared to be as important for the eradication of S. angulatus as the destruction of infested fields. Action plans for the near future include training of farmers so that they can recognize the plant and control it, monitoring and surveillance of the fields to detect new spots, and eradication of the plant when found.
Diari Oficial de la Generalitat de Catalunya (DOGC nùm. 4315 – 03/02/2005). Department d’Agricultura, Ramaderia i pesca. Ordre ARP/10/2005.
EPPO Datasheet on Sicyos angulatus
Taberner A, Sans M (2005) Procedimiento de erradicación de Sicyos angulatus L. en maís. Congreso 2005 de la Sociedad Española de Malherbologia. 4pp.