A study was conducted in Gedeo Zone, Southern Ethiopia to determine the impact and distribution status of Parthenium weed, Parthenium hysterophorus L. in the area. To collect data related with the impact of parthenium, 14 Peasant Association (PAs) were purposefully selected along the high way. A total of 140 quadrats (1 m2 area each) from 14 PAs were selected by using stratified random sampling for herbaceous vegetation data associated with parthenium. The plant species found in each quadrat were counted, recorded and identified. The data collected from farmers’ perception on the impact of parthenium weed were analyzed by using descriptive statistics. Shannon Diversity Index, evenness, species richness and Jaccards Similarity Index to determine parthenium impact on species diversity were calculated from the vegetation data. To see correlation of vegetation variables among and between sample PAs, R.2.14.0 Package was used. This study revealed that high infestation level of parthenium weed is confined to Dilla administrative town as supported by 73% of the respondents. A total of 45 plant species under 20 families were recorded from this study. The sampled PAs in Dilla town showed high infestation level with lower diversity index. Thus, it is an urgent task to draw the attention of relevant responsible bodies and public in general for managing and preventing further introduction and dissemination of the weed in this study area.
Key words: Diversity Index, Farmers’ Perception, herbaceous vegetation, Parthenium hysterophorus L.
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