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Distribution pattern and species richness of natural weeds of wheat in varying habitat conditions of district Malakand, Pakistan

Muhammad Iqbal, Shujaul Mulk Khan, Muhammad Azim Khan, Zeeshan Ahmad, Zaheer Abbas, Shah Masaud Khan and Muhammad Saleem Khan

Quantitative ecological techniques in winter wheat fields were used to assess weed species richness, distribution pattern and abundance under the influence of varying environmental conditions in the District of Malakand KP, Pakistan. A total of 1200 quadrats (1x1 m2 size) were established in 120 randomly selected wheat fields. Using quadrat data phytosociological attributes i.e., density, frequency, cover, relative density, relative cover, relative frequency and importance values were calculated for each weed species. Preliminary 132 weed species were recorded from 1200 quadrats. Cluster and Two Cluster Analyses using PCORD Version 5 gave rise to five major weed communities via Sorenson distance measurements. These weed communities were: (1) Emex-Vicia-Lathyrus weeds community (2) Alysum-Cannabis-Lithospermum weeds community (3) Oxalis- Lathyrus-Chenopodium weeds community (4) Euphorbia-Cerastium-Capsella-bursa weeds community and (5) Alopecuris-Mazus-Persicaria weeds community. Over all top five abundant weed species were Anagallis arvensis, Poa annua, Medicago denticulata L, Veronica polita and Fumaria indica with Importance Values Index (IVI) of 1101.45, 1050.30, 916.23, 782.57 and 664.76 respectively in the region. Among the less abundant weed species with minimum IVI in the region Lamium amplexicaule (94.6435), Papaver rhoeas L. (94.1686), Lathyrus aphaca (94.0310), Medicago polymorpha (93.2877) and Lithospermum erythrorhizon (90.8317) were noteworthy. The weed species Boerhavia procumbens (1.2350), Saussurea heteromalla (1.2055), Verbascum Thapsus (1.1217), Mentha longifolia (1.0738) and Juncus biflorus (1.0605) having IVI less than 2 were considered as rare weeds of wheat in the study area. While Acanthophyllum grandiflora, Boerhavia procumbens, Carex fedia, Dicliptera roxburghiana and Eryngium caeruleum were among the least common species (LCS) showing their presence in one field only. It was concluded that electrical conductivity, soil texture, pH, organic matter, CaCO3, phosphorous and high nitrogen concentration were the strong environmental variables that gives rise to diverse weed species composition, richness and distribution pattern.  

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