Science: Little Red Flower

Farmers in 16 counties of North and South Carolina were anxiously watching their fields last week for a delicate, bright green plant that grows to be nine or ten inches high. It is a pretty plant, with gay red and orange flowers shaped something like violets. In South Africa, where it abounds, Boer farmers call it rooibloemetjie (little red flower) and vuurbossie (firebrand). In the U.S. it is witchweed (Striga asiatica), a parasitic plant that sucks the life sap of corn, sorghum, sugar cane and many other crops, leaving the plants as rustling ghosts...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!