Research was conducted on the production potential of selected medicinal herbal plant species as new crops suitable for cultivation in South Carolina. Whiteflies (Bemisia argentifolii Bellows & Perring) were found in an experimental production field infesting five perennial species of medicinal herbal plants [feverfew, Tanacetum parthenium (L.) Schultz-Bipontinus; St. John’s wort, Hypericum perforatum L.; purple coneflower, Echinacea pallida (Nuttall) Nuttall and E. purpurea (L.) Moench; and common valerian, Valeriana officinalis L.]. This article reports on whiteflies attacking and developing on these plant species. Density of whitefly nymphs was highest (mean = 2.3/cm2) on the second fully expanded leaf on the apical meristem of E. purpurea as compared with the same leaf position on the other plant species where average whitefly density ranged from 0.1 to 0.6 nymphs per square centimeter from late November 1998 through January 1999. Similarly, adult capture on sticky cards was high (mean = 123 whiteflies per card) in plots of E. purpurea compared with plots of the other four species (mean = 8 to 20 whiteflies per card per species), and adult counts were elevated in the highest (440 kg N/ha) of three fertility rates in E. purpurea. Moreover, laboratory tests agreed with the observation of a higher population of B. argentifolii on E. purpurea compared with the other four plant species. The whitefly completed development on all five plant species, and whitefly-associated parasitoids emerged from field-leaf samples of each plant species.
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