Biology and ecology of Kochia scoparia, an invasive species in Algeria
Kochia scoparia (Chenopodiaceae) is an annual plant, 0.4-2.5 m tall, originating from Eurasia. It occurs in Australia, Canada, Afghanistan, Pakistan, South Africa and the USA. Within the EPPO region, the plant is exotic and has invaded the Ouatya valley near Biskra in Algeria, as well as being recorded in Morocco.
In Algeria, the life cycle of K. scoparia begins in March, it flowers in September or October and each plant produces around 2;000 seeds. In November, the plant then dries and stands on the ground, making tillage difficult. K. scoparia prefers humid and disturbed habitats, it grows on any soil and can tolerate salinity. The species prefers sunny places, and is particularly abundant in fields with micro-irrigation. Seeds are spread through wind, and dead plants are transported as tumbleweed. The plant is also spread through human activities when used as a fodder, and is also used to control soil erosion.
In Algeria it is commonly found in cultivated fields and is particularly abundant in irrigated crops and has not been reported in natural habitats so far. It is also found along road sides. In the Ouatya valley, it almost invaded the totality of the 1137 ha of irrigated crop land since 2003. Land has been abandoned in this area because of the presence of this invasive plant. In addition to its impacts to agriculture, the pollen of K. scoparia is allergenic.
In the USA, the plant is recorded as a weed of cereals. In Canada, it is recorded as a weed of lentils and chick peas.
Benmeddour T, Fenni M (2008) Biologie et écologie de Ganida (Kochia scoparia (L.) Schrad);: plante envahissante du périmètre de l’Ouatya, Biskra. Actes du colloque international sur l'aridoculture: optimisation des productions agricoles et développement durable (Biskra, DZ, 2008-12-13/14). Tome 1: communications orales, 341-356. http://www.crstra.dz/Information/S2010-1.htm
USDA (2010) Germplasm Resources Information Network's. Bassia scoparia (L.) A. J. Scott. http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?404228