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Dyer's woad Project


Project Leader: Walker JONES



Isatis tinctoria L. dyer's woad is native of southeastern Russia, and has spread on its own or has been transported to many countries. It exists on six continents and grows wild in China, Tibet, and Afghanistan. It was imported to North America from Europe by early colonists as a textile dye crop then accidently spread as a crop seed contaminant. Dyer's woad poses a real threat to rangelands, forests, and pastures of the intermountain west because of its ability to dominate plant communities. Today, dyer's woad persists as a weed in eight western states and threatens to invade others, particularly those with large amounts of rangelands and pasture. Dyer's woad can be controlled by mechanical and chemical means but the most economic method remains classical biological control. USDA/ARS-EBCL in cooperation with BLM (Bureau of Land Management) surveyed Italy for discovering new insects attacking different niches of the weed. Many insects were discovered and three were selected as potential candidate agents. The the root feeding weevil, Ceutorhynchus rusticus, seed feeder weevil Ceutorhynchus peyerimhoffi , and the leaf-bud feeder Psylliodes isatidis. Preliminary host range testings were already done with all of them and all species showed to possess a high degree of specificity. Host range testing with above mentioned insect species are scheduled for 2007-2008.


Italian cooperator:


Enzo Colonnelli (Taxonomist, University of Rome Italy).

Technician supervision:


Gianni Terragitti, Andrea De Santis, and Angelo Savarese 2006. Surveying and collecting natural enemies attacking dyer's woad in Italy. Conducted preliminary host specificity tests with selected candidate agents attacking dyer's woad in Italy.




Gaetano Campobasso, Gianni Terragitti, Enzo Colonnelli, and P. C. Quimby.
Organisms associated with Dyer's woad in Southern Europe, and selection of potential biological control agents attacking various niches of the weed. (In progress)