EAST WINDSOR, Conn (WTNH) – Scientists from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station have discovered a highly invasive species of pigweed.
The weed has been identified as Palmer Amaranth and is known to be highly aggressive, out-competing many crops.
Dr. Jantinder Aulakh has studied this specific species for nearly a decade and tells News 8, “a single plant can produce more than 300,000 seeds.”
He first studied Palmer Amaranth during his time at Auburn University in Alabama. He noticed the weed cut the cotton production by 50%.
Following his time in Alabama, he studied the weed in Nebraska where the corn crops were cut by 90%. The weed also has high levels of nitrate, known to poison livestock.
“The growers need to be very much worried about it.” Aulakh spotted the weed himself about four weeks ago in a pumpkin field in East Windsor.
The two pumpkin fields with this weed are the first cases in the state. Right now, 40 other states are known to have this weed including Massachusetts and New York.
Palmer Amaranth leaves often have white or purple. Chevron-shaped water marks on the upper surface.
Aulakh is encouraging any farmers who recognize the Palmer Amaranth leaves to report it to him. Email: Jatinder.Aulakh@ct.gov or by phone: 860-683-4984