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New Book from Musselman on Plant Parasites

Head and shoulders shot of ODU botany professor MusselmanLytton Musselman

Lytton John Musselman, the Mary Payne Hogan Professor of Botany at Old Dominion University, is one of the editors of a new book that explores the topic of plant parasites, specifically those in the family of Orobanchaceae.

"Parasitic Orobanchaceae: Parasitic Mechanisms and Control Strategies" is a collection of research results and commentaries from 26 experts worldwide. The publisher is Springer.

Musselman edited the book together with Daniel Joel of the Newe-Ya'ar Research Center in Israel and Jonathan Gressel of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

The book is divided into two parts, the first of which presents the latest knowledge about key aspects of parasitism. The second is dedicated to the weedy species of Orobanchaceae and their management, including strategies for parasitic weed control.

"Some parasitic species are weedy and damage major agricultural crops, leading to heavy economic losses worldwide and threatening food security, especially in poor countries," declares a Springer publicity blurb for the book. The blurb also notes that climate change "may expand the distribution of the weedy species to geographical areas currently un-infested and some non-weedy species may penetrate cultivated areas and become weedy."

The book, according to Musselman, is targeted to a wide audience that includes college faculty and their students, scientists and farmers.

An ODU faculty member for nearly 40 years, Musselman is a prolific author and editor. Earlier this year he published "The Quick Guide to Wild Edible Plants" (Johns Hopkins University Press) together with one of his former students at ODU, Harold J. Wiggins. In 2012, he and ODU alumnus and Army Corps environmental scientist David Knepper produced the field guide "Plants of the Chesapeake Bay" (Johns Hopkins University Press).

Musselman also is an expert on the plants of biblical lands. His "Dictionary of Bible Plants" (Cambridge University Press) was published in 2011. He is the author of "Figs, Dates, Laurel, and Myrrh: Plants of the Bible and the Quran" (2007, Timber Press) and "Jordan in Bloom - Wildflowers of the Holy Land" (2000), commissioned by Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan.

The plants of biblical lands expertise also results in Musselman getting numerous invitations to speak. Earlier this month, he delivered the talk "Holy Botany: Plants of the Bible" at Brandeis University in Massachusetts.