Herbicide Resistant Weeds

  • Ian HeapEmail author


The International Survey of Herbicide-Resistant Weeds ( reports 388 unique cases (species x site of action) of herbicide-resistant weeds globally, with 210 species. Weeds have evolved resistance to 21 of the 25 known herbicide sites of action and to 152 different herbicides. The ALS inhibitors (126 resistant species) are most prone to resistance, followed by the triazines (69 species), and the ACCase inhibitors (42 species). Herbicide-resistant weeds first became problematic in the USA and Europe in the 1970s and early 1980s due to the repeated applications of atrazine and simazine in maize crops. Growers turned to the ALS and ACCase inhibitor herbicides in the 1980s and 1990s to control triazine-resistant weeds and then to glyphosate-resistant crops in the mid 1990s in part to control ALS inhibitor, ACCase inhibitor, and triazine-resistant weeds. The massive area treated with glyphosate alone in glyphosate-resistant crops has led to a rapid increase in the evolution of glyphosate-resistant weeds. Glyphosate-resistant weeds are found in 23 species and 18 countries and they now dominate herbicide-resistance research, but have not yet surpassed the economic damage caused by ALS inhibitor and ACCase inhibitor resistant weeds. Lolium rigidum remains the world’s worst herbicide-resistant weed (12 countries, 11 sites of action, 9 cropping regimes, over 2 million hectares) followed by Amaranthus palmeri, Conyza canadensis, Avena fatua, Amaranthus tuberculatus, and Echinochloa crus-galli. In the years ahead multiple-resistance in weeds combined with the decline in the discovery of novel herbicide modes of action present the greatest threat to sustained weed control in agronomic crops. The discovery of new herbicide sites of action and new herbicide-resistant crop traits will play a major role in weed control in the future however growers must make the transition to integrated weed management that utilizes all economically available weed control techniques.


Herbicide-resistance Resistant weeds Resistance management ALS inhibitors ACCase inhibitors Glyphosate Survey Integrated weed management Herbicide tolerant crops Herbicides 



The author would like to acknowledge the Herbicide Resistance Action Committee for their support of the International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds as well as the data contributions from weed scientists in over 60 countries.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Director of the International Survey of Herbicide-Resistant WeedsCorvallis ORUSA

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