Weed Identification

Australia > > Common Name

Common Name

Scientific Name

THIS PLANT IS ON THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL ALERT LIST
http://www.weeds.gov.au/weeds/lists/alert.html

Alternative Name(s): Alternative Name

Family: Family

Form:

Origin: Origin

Weed Type(s): Weed Type

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers/Seedhead

Description: Description

Distinguishing features: Distinguishing features

Dispersal: Dispersal

Confused With: Confused With

Notes: Notes

References:

    References

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card Card Number

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Australia > > Common Name

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Pink Pampas Grass

Weed Identification

Australia > > Pink Pampas Grass

Pink Pampas Grass

Cortaderia jubata

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native to Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru.

Flowers/Seedhead: Seedhead: A large pink to pale purple (fading with age) plume-like seedhead to 0.9 m long; held on hollow jointed stems (culms), well above the arching leaves. Flowers January to April.

Description: Tussocky perennial to 4.5 m tall. Leaves to about 2 m long with a prominent midrib and sharp edges of forward facing short teeth. A rim of hairs at the base of the leaf blade (ligule) up to 3 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by drooping leaves compared with erect leaves for Cortaderia selloana. Inflorescences of Cortaderia jubata are held high above the arching leaves.

Dispersal: Seed is wind borne for many kilometres. Also spread from whole plants dumped into bushland and along stream banks.


Pale pink flowerheads of C. jubata held
high above leaves

Notes: Introduced as an ornamental and now a major weed. Plants female only, but produce seeds without fertilisation (apomixis). Tolerant of wet conditions, it grows in saturated soils and on high ground where summer rainfall is adequate. Cortaderia jubata is the most aggressive of the three species naturalised in Australia, and the most common weedy Cortaderia in NSW and Victoria and is replacing Cortaderia selloana as the major weedy Cortaderia species in Tasmania.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 103–104. Flora of Victoria. N. Walsh and T Entwisle (eds), 1996, Vol. 1, pages 546–548. Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 4, 1993, pages 565–566.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


C. jubata flowerhead
after flowering

Left to right: juvenile;
leaf showing midrib;
leaf sheath & ligule

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G01

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Pink Pampas Grass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Giant Parramatta Grass

Weed Identification

Australia > > Giant Parramatta Grass

Giant Parramatta Grass

Sporobolus fertilis

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native of tropical Asia and Malesia.

Flowers/Seedhead: Seedhead: Flowers spring to autumn.

Description: Tufted perennial with seedhead to 1.6 m high. Leaf blades to 50 cm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by leaf blades to 1.5–5 mm wide; seedhead 25–50 cm long with branches appressed to the axis and overlapping, although lower ones generally spreading at maturity, lowest node of seedhead with 1 main branch; spikelets 1.6–2 mm long with upper glume about a third of spikelet length, lower glume about 50% length of upper glume; grain 0.8–1.0 mm long.

Dispersal: By seed by water, wind and machinery. At maturity seeds become sticky and may attach to hair or fur.

Confused With: Other Sporobolus species, see taxonomic texts for detailed distuishing features. Often confused with Parramatta Grass (Sporobolus africanus, previously known as Sporobolus indicus var. capensis) that is generally shorter (15–90 cm high), lower branches of seedhead close to stem and spikelets 2.1–2.5 mm long.


Stem, leaves and seedheads Bomaderry, NSW, February

Notes: Summer growing unpalatable tough grass. Widespread and locally common in coastal areas of NSW and Queensland. Weed of low fertility soils. When established will exclude native plants. Recovers rapidly from fire. Major weed of disturbed and pastoral land.

References:

    Australian Systematic Botany. B. Simon and S. Jacobs. Vol. 12, 1999, pages 375–448. Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed.), Vol. 4, 1993, page 525–526.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Spikelets

Seedhead and spikelet
drawings: L. Elkan, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

Invading pasture
near Bomaderry, NSW

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G02

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Giant Parramatta Grass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Giant Rat's Tail Grass

Weed Identification

Australia > > Giant Rat's Tail Grass

Giant Rat's Tail Grass

Sporobolus pyramidalis

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native to Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Seedhead: Dense branched panicle 25–40 cm long. Flowers most of year.

Description: Tufted perennial to about 1.7 m tall. Leaves folded or rolled, hairless although sometimes with a few rigid hairs on margins of the lower leaves. Seed orange-brown, tapered-cylindrical, about 1 mm long. Roots fibrous.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by cylindrical spike-like seedhead with stiff, erect overlapping branches before flowering, branches usually opening at maturity becoming pyramid shaped (see top right photo). Leaves 6–8 mm wide.

Dispersal: At maturity seeds become sticky and may attach to hair or fur. Also moved by water, wind and machinery.

Confused With: Other Sporobolus species.


Seedheads with orange-brown seeds

Notes: Unpalatable tough grass. Widespread and locally common in coastal areas of northern NSW and Qld. Weed of low fertility soils. When established will exclude native plants. Recovers rapidly from fire. Low fodder value for sheep and cattle. Major weed of disturbed and pastoral land.

References:

    Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 4, 1993, page 526. Australian Systematic Botany. B. Simon and S. Jacobs. Vol. 12, 1999, pages 375–448.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Plant growing in tufts.
Grows up to 2 m tall

Seedheads at varying
stages of opening

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G03

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Giant Rat's Tail Grass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Gamba Grass

Weed Identification

Australia > > Gamba Grass

Gamba Grass

Andropogon gayanus

THIS PLANT HAS BEEN DECLARED A WEED OF NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native to Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Seedhead: Terminal paired racemes that spread to a V-shape (see photo). Heads mature brown. Flowers autumn and winter.

Description: Perennial grass that forms tussocks. Stems hairless. Leaves to 30 cm long, to 2 cm wide and often with a white midrib.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by erect habit to 4 m high; racemes in pairs, one with spikelets to the base and one with a bare base for 6 mm; spikelets paired with one spikelet being on a stalk and the other not; awns to 30 mm long and hairy (fluffy when mature) seedheads.

Dispersal: Planted as a pasture species and initially this has been the main source of spread. Seeds spread by wind and water, and by vehicles and machinery in mud and on radiators.


Grows to 4m tall, Darwin, NT, July
photo C. Wilson

Notes: Forms dense patches out-competing native plants. Introduced as a pasture species but has low palatability when mature. Requires constant slashing or grazing to be of pastoral use. Grows in savanna woodlands where rainfall is over 600 mm per annum. Also grows in degraded areas, roadsides, pastures as well as native vegetation. Provides fuel for hotter than normal fires that damage native plants. Major weed of Venezuela and regarded as a serious threat to savannas of northern Australia.

References:

    Reference: Weeds of Natural Ecosystems: a field guide to environmental weeds of the Northern Territory. N. Smith, 1995, NT Environment Centre, page 49.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Leaf with white midrib

Hairy spikelets

Matures to a V-shaped seedhead,
Darwin, NT, May
photo C. Wilson

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G04

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Gamba Grass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - African Lovegrass

Weed Identification

Australia > > African Lovegrass

African Lovegrass

Eragrostis curvula

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native to southern Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Seed Head: Up to 30 cm long. Flowers mostly summer to autumn, but spring burning will promote rapid growth to full maturity in early summer.

Description: Tufted, often tussocky, perennial grass to about 1.5 m tall. Leaves hairless or with soft hairs having wart-like bases; appendage at base of leaf (ligule) a hairy rim to 1 mm long; blade about 3 mm wide. Seeds cream to brown about 1 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by erect, open or compact seedhead, that has a lead-grey or grey-green appearance (see photo) and leaf tips that are often curly.

Dispersal: Seeds that are often spread in mud on vehicles and animals.


Seed heads closed at first (left) open at maturity (right)

Notes: A variable species complex. Valued for soil conservation and fodder or regarded as a serious weed. Introduced for soil stabilisation. Common on sandy soils; capable of resisting drought and heavy grazing. Successfully competes with low growing weeds such as Spiny Burrgrass Cenchrus species and Caltrop Tribulus terrestris. Many early introductions were of low palatability. 'Consol' is a cultivar selected for palatability. Seedlings grow rapidly after summer rain and strategies to control it depend on providing unfavourable conditions in summer. Serious weed of road verges and may form dense swards crowding out more desirable species in pasture or environmental areas.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 106–109. Australian Systematic Botany, M. Lazarides, 1997, Vol. 10, pages 77–187.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Left: unburnt Lovegrass
Right: regrowth after burning

Part of seedhead & spikelets at flowering

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G05.
More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

It has also been included in the 'Jumping the Garden Fence' report (WWF-Australia PDF - 1.19mb) which examines the impact of invasive garden plants on Australian agricultural land and natural ecosystems.

 

Australia > > African Lovegrass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Buffel Grass

Weed Identification

Australia > > Buffel Grass

Buffel Grass

Cenchrus ciliaris

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native to Africa and south western Asia.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers most of year, usually after rain.

Description: Tufted erect or spreading perennial to 1 m high with a tough rootstock. Often roots from lower nodes. Base of leaf blade with a ring of short hairs (ligule). Leaf blade bluish-green, to 30 cm long and to 1.3 cm wide.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by seedheads in a dense hairy cylindrical spike to 10 (rarely to 25) cm long and to 2 cm wide; 1–4 spikelets surrounded basally by bristles with forward directed barbs and forming soft purple burrs to 16 mm long, with one bristle longer than others.

Dispersal: Seeds are spread by wind, water, stock and machinery.

Confused With: Another Buffel Grass Cenchrus pennisetiformis, see taxonomic texts for distinguishing features.


Seedheads, Carnavon, WA, July

Notes: Grows on all types of soil, commonly on sandy and stony soils. Useful for erosion control and as a pasture species. Can withstand heavy grazing. Often regarded as a weed of alluvial flats and riverine sites. Still spreading. Major environmental weed of northern Australia where it displaces native species. Plants are fire resistant but have the ability to carry fire in areas where fire was not normally part of the ecosystem. The species requires summer rain and is not cold tolerant.

References:

    Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 4, 1993, page 500–502. Weeds of Natural Ecosystems: a field guide to environmental weeds of the Northern Territory. N. Smith, 1995, NT Environment Centre, page 51.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


After rain, Alice Springs, NT, April
photo C. Wilson

Spikelets
photo C. Wilson

Mature seedheads
Alice Springs, NT, Aug
photo C. Wilson

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G06

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Buffel Grass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Mission Grass

Weed Identification

Australia > > Mission Grass

Mission Grass

Pennisetum polystachion

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native of tropical Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Spikelets solitary, to 4.5 mm long. Flowers summer to early winter.

Description: Tufted, annual or perennial grass to 3 m high. Leaf blade to 45 cm long and to 1.8 cm wide; base of leaf blade with a ring of short hairs (ligule) to 2 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by seedheads to 1.5–2 cm wide and to 25 (rarely to 35) cm long, cylindrical, compact, light brown; spikelets surrounded by numerous bristles to 2.5 cm long and hairy in the lower part, upper glume as long as the spikelets, and lower glume absent or obscure.

Dispersal: Spread by seed.

Confused With: Similar to 2 subspecies of Pennisetum pedicellatum: subspecies unispiculum and subspecies pedicellatum, the latter being more common in the NT.


Seedheads of Pennisetum polystachion (left) Pennisetum pedicellatum (right)

Notes: Introduced as a pasture species. Rarely establishes outside the tropics. Encouraged by repeated burning. Fuel load from this species is often 3–5 times that of neighbouring areas free of Mission Grass or Gamba Grass, Andropogon gayanus. This fuel load results in more intense fires than previously and this has a detrimental impact on other native species as well as on property and horticulture.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 119–121. Weeds of Natural Ecosystems: a field guide to environmental weeds of the Northern Territory. N. Smith, 1995, NTEnvironment Centre, page 59.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Dense stands exclude other grasses

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G07

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Mission Grass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Para Grass

Weed Identification

Australia > > Para Grass

Para Grass

Urochloa mutica

Alternative Name(s): Brachiaria mutica, Panicum muticum.

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Probably native to tropical Africa but first described from Brazilian specimens.

Flowers/Seedhead: Seedhead: With branches at, or near, right angles to the stem. Spikelets to 3.5 mm long with lower glume 30–50% of spikelet length. Flowering time depends on location.

Description: Stoloniferous leafy perennial to 2 m high. Leaf sheath (part of leaf around stem) with tubercle-based hairs (small wart-like outgrowth at base of hairs—use a hand lens to view them). Leaf blade to 20 mm wide.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by spreading habit with stems to 4 m long; thickened areas on stems (nodes) densely hairy; seedheads terminal with 5–20 branches, each 2–8 cm long.

Dispersal: Spread by seeds and vegetatively. Most long distance dispersal takes place through its use as a pasture species.


Seedhead & hairy leaf sheath,
Casino, NSW, April

Notes: Summer-growing and frost sensitive in temperate areas. Valuable tropical fodder plant. A serious weed in native wetlands as well as in drainage and supply channels. Destroys waterbird breeding habitats and replaces native vegetation in tropical and sub-tropical streams.

References:

    Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 4, 1993, page 468–471. Weeds of Natural Ecosystems: a field guide to environmental weeds of the Northern Territory. N. Smith, 1995, NT Environment Centre, page 50.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Dense stands,
Munmalary, NT, November
photo C. Wilson

Para Grass in former Mimosa area,
Oenpelli, NT
photo C. Wilson

Para Grass fire on floodplain,
Oenpelli, NT, Sept
photo C. Wilson

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G08

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Para Grass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Olive Hymenachne

Weed Identification

Australia > > Olive Hymenachne

Olive Hymenachne

Hymenachne amplexicaulis

THIS PLANT HAS BEEN DECLARED A WEED OF NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native of Mexico, central America, tropical South America, West Indies.

Flowers/Seedhead: Seedhead: Spikelets lanceolate, to 4.5 mm long. Flowers summer and autumn.

Description: Robust rhizomatous perennial grass to 1.5 (rarely to 2.5) m high. Stems floating or spreading over moist soil and then erect, often stoloniferous at the base and rooting at the nodes. Leaf blade to 3 (rarely to 6) cm wide and to 35 (rarely to 45) cm long; base of leaf blade with a membranous rim (ligule) against the stem.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by stems containing pith; leaf blades stem-clasping at the base; cylindrical seedheads about 8 mm wide and to 40 cm long.

Dispersal: Spread by seed, in stockfeed, by waterbirds or by flood waters. Also planted as a ponded pasture species.

Confused With: Hymenachne acutigluma is a similar native species that does not have a stem-clasping leaf base.


Leaf with prominent stem clasping lobes
Adelaide R, NT, May

Notes: Thrives in water to 2 m deep in areas with wet and dry cycles, tolerates deeper water than Para Grass, Urochloa mutica. Introduced as a ponded pasture species. Provides high quality feed all year round, even as waterbodies dry during extended periods of no rain. Displaces native species from deeper water threatening native wetland habitat.

References:

    Weeds of Natural Ecosystems: a field guide to environmental weeds of the Northern Territory. N. Smith, 1995, NT Environment Centre, page 57. Floodplain Flora: a flora of the Northern Territory, Australia. I. Cowie et al., 2000, Parks and Wildlife Commission of NT, page 299.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Broad leaves
& cylindrical
seedheads
photo C. Wilson

Dense growth, Scotts Creek, Djukbinj, NT, May
photo C. Wilson

Native Hymenachne
acutigluma
without lobes
photo C. Wilson

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G09

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Olive Hymenachne

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Mossman River Grass

Weed Identification

Australia > > Mossman River Grass

Mossman River Grass

Cenchrus echinatus

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native of North and South America.

Flowers/Seedhead: Seedhead: Inflorescence a cylindrical spike of up to 50 burrs. Flowers most of year in tropical areas.

Description: Clump-forming annual grass to 80 cm high. Leaves with or without hairs, to 12 mm wide, ligule a fringe of hairs.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by burrs 4–10 mm long with backwardly directed barbs and with ring of smaller bristles around base of burr.

Dispersal: Spread by seed in burrs. Burrs are spread attached to animals, clothing and bags, and burrs float and are moved by water.

Confused With: Other Cenchrus species, see taxonomic texts for detailed distinguishing features.


Mature burrs often turn reddish
Moreton Island, Qld, March

Notes: Germinates in spring and summer in temperate zones. Often grows on sandy soils especially along coast; provides good grazing when young, but is a major weed if allowed to mature. Burrs reduce the value of wool and make shearing hazardous. Spines of burrs also penetrate hides lowering their value. This grass is a weed of many tropical and subtropical crops where the plant competes for moisture, nutrients and light. Burrs are also a problem in recreation areas.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 95–97. Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 4, 1993, pages 500–502.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Spiny Burrs
Berrimah, NT, March

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G10

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Mossman River Grass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Lobed Needlegrass

Weed Identification

Australia > > Lobed Needlegrass

Lobed Needlegrass

Nassella charruana

THIS PLANT IS ON THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL ALERT LIST
http://www.weeds.gov.au/weeds/lists/alert.html

Family: Poaceae

Form: Grass

Origin: Native to Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and south eastern Brazil.

Flowers/Seedhead: Seedhead: Grows to 30 cm long. Spikelets with glumes c. 1.7 cm long, end of lemma near callus covered with white hairs; awns twice bent, to 8.5 cm long. Flowers spring and summer.

Description: Tussock-forming perennial to 1 m high. Stems erect, hollow.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by nodes without hairs; glumes translucent to straw-coloured; presence of large, pale brown to white lobes on top of the lemma and about as long as the dark brown lemma (see photo). Leaf blades to 2 mm wide; ligule to 1 mm long.

Dispersal: Spread by seed.


Tufts 70 cm high, roadside
Thomastown, Vic
photo J.R. Hosking

Notes: Only known from a few locations in Victoria. First recorded in 1995. Forms competitive dense stands. This species gives every indication of being an extremely serious agricultural and environmental weed. Regarded as a grass of poor feed value and is considered a weed in its native range. Seeds penetrate fur and skin. Reported to prefer clay soils in its native range. A program aimed at eradicating this species began in Victoria in 1998.

References:

    Plant Protection Quarterly. N. Walsh, 1998, Vol. 13, pages 59–62. Plant Protection Quarterly. D. McLaren et al., 1998, Vol. 13, pages 62–70.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Straw coloured glumes, leaf & nodes without hairs
photo J.R. Hosking

Distinctive pale brown to white lobes at top of the lemma
& around the awn
Inset: seed

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G11

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Lobed Needlegrass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Chilean Needlegrass

Weed Identification

Australia > > Chilean Needlegrass

Chilean Needlegrass

Nassella neesiana

THIS PLANT HAS BEEN DECLARED A WEED OF NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native to Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and southern Brazil.

Flowers/Seedhead: Seedhead: Grows to 40 cm long; lemma (excluding corona) to 1 cm long, hard point at base of lemma with hairs; awns twice bent, 4–9 cm long. Flowers spring and summer.

Description: Tufted perennial to 1 m high. Leaves to 5 mm wide with ligule to 3 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by nodes covered with short soft hairs; purplish glumes to 25 mm long; cylindrical crown (corona) around the base of the awn is less than 1.5 mm long and lacks long hairs.

Dispersal: Spread by seeds that are produced in the seedheads as well as beneath leaf-sheaths above the nodes of flowering shoots and at the stem base. Stem seeds enable the plant to reproduce even if flowering is prevented.


Growing on roadside, Rutherglen, Vic

Notes: Germination mainly occurs in autumn and spring. Palatable and considered to be a reasonable feed in winter but a poor feed when flowering and seeding. Causes vegetable fault in wool. First recorded in Australia in 1934. Increasing numbers of infestations are being reported on roadsides and along drainage lines in native and improved pastures in NSW and Vic. Now a major agricultural and environmental weed in Vic and NSW. This species is also a weed in Europe, North and South America and New Zealand.

References:

    Plant Protection Quarterly. N. Walsh, 1998, Vol. 13, pages 59–62. Plant Protection Quarterly. D. McLaren et al., 1998, Vol. 13, pages 62–70

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Head emerging & ligule,
November

Seeds showing corona and hairy lemma
illustration: E. Mayfield

Hairy node &
drooping heads
Nemingha, NSW
photo J.R. Hosking

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G12

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Chilean Needlegrass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Mexican Feather Grass

Weed Identification

Australia > > Mexican Feather Grass

Mexican Feather Grass

Nassella tenuissima

IMPORTANT: IF YOU SUSPECT THE PRESENCE OF THIS PLANT, PLEASE REPORT IT BY CALLING 1800 084 881 (local call cost anywhere in Australia).


Alternative Name(s): White Tussock, Stipa tenuissima.

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native from southern USA to Chile and Argentina.

Flowers/Seedhead: Seedhead: Young seedheads held among the leaves; mature seedhead to 25 cm long; glumes to 1 cm long; callus bearded. Flowers summer.

Description: Perennial grass forming dense tussocks to 0.8 m high. Leaf blades to 0.5 mm wide, tightly rolled and with small serrations that can be felt when fingers are moved downward along the blade.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by hairless nodes, some usually visible; ligule membranous and hairless, to 2.5 mm long; glumes purplish in the lower half; lemma to 3 mm long, with some hairs to 0.3 mm long at the top (at the base of the own); own narrow, straight or obscurely twice bent, 4.5–9 cm long; attached centrally to the top of the lemma.

Dispersal: Spread by seed and as an ornamental.

Confused With: Serrated tussock, Nassella trichotoma, which has shorter awns 2–3.5 cm long that are attached off-centre at the top of the lemma.


Distinguished by long awns and lack of corona
Inset: seed
photo J.J. Dellow illustration E. Mayfield

Notes: Initially mislabelled and sold as an ornamental in Australia under the names Elegant Spear Grass, Pony Tail and Angel's Hair. Mexican Feather Grass is not known to be naturalised in Australia to date. This grass is a weed in its native range and is considered to be of low palatability. If this species naturalises in Australia it potentially has a wider range than Serrated Tussock. Mexican Feather Grass escaped from cultivation in New Zealand and has become a weed that is continuing to spread.

References:

    Reference: Telopea. S. Jacobs et al., 1998, Vol. 8, pages 41–46.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Shows the difference between seeds of
the 3 illustrated species.
NB long bent awns of N. tenuissima

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G13.
More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

It has also been included in the 'Jumping the Garden Fence' report (WWF-Australia PDF - 1.19mb) which examines the impact of invasive garden plants on Australian agricultural land and natural ecosystems.

 

Australia > > Mexican Feather Grass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Serrated Tussock

Weed Identification

Australia > > Serrated Tussock

Serrated Tussock

Nassella trichotoma

THIS PLANT HAS BEEN DECLARED A WEED OF NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native to Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil

Flowers/Seedhead: Seedhead: Young seedheads held among the leaves; mature seedhead to 25 cm long; glumes to 1 cm long; hard point at base of lemma bearded. Flowers spring and early summer.

Description: Perennial grass forming dense tussocks to 0.6 m high. Leaf blades to 0.5 mm wide, tightly rolled and with small serrations that can be felt when fingers are moved downward along the blade.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by softly hairy nodes but usually concealed by leaf sheaths; ligule membranous and hairless, about 1 mm long; glumes purplish in the lower half; lemma to 3 mm long, without a cylindrical crown at the top; awn straight or obscurely twice bent, 2–3.5 cm long, attached off-centre to seed and remaining attached at maturity; open seedheads drooping over tussocks then detaching as a whole at maturity.

Dispersal: Spread by seed, mainly while in seedheads which break off at base and are carried by wind. Seeds are also moved by water, animals and in contaminated feed.


Open seedhead with purplish glumes, Goulburn, NSW, Oct
Inset: Tussock

Notes: Unpalatable to stock, and a major pastoral weed. Not limited by soil type or fertility. Appears to be limited to areas where the average temperature in the warmest month is less than 30°C. The earliest naturalised vouchered specimen was collected near Yass in 1936. This species is also a weed in its native range and in South Africa, New Zealand and the USA.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 111–115. Biology of Australian Weeds. R. Groves et al. Vol. 1, 1995, pages 189–202.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Distinctive drooping tussocks
Bacchus Marsh, December
photo J.R. Hosking

Left: seed
Right: On hillside, Goulburn, NSW
illustration: E. Mayfield

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G14

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Serrated Tussock

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Spiny Burrgrass

Weed Identification

Australia > > Spiny Burrgrass

Spiny Burrgrass

Cenchrus longispinus

Alternative Name(s): Bohena Beauty, Gentle Annie, Innocent Weed.

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native of North America.

Flowers/Seedhead: A cylindrical spike. Flowers summer and autumn.

Description: Erect or spreading tufted annual grass to 60 (rarely to 90) cm high. Stems may root at lower nodes, hairless. Leaves 3–7 mm wide, ligule a fringed membrane.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by top of the spikelets protruding above the top of the burr (but still shorter than the spines); burrs 5–8 mm long usually with more than 40 spines that are almost circular in cross-section in the upper half and with base of larger spines rarely wider than 1 mm, without ring of smaller bristles around base of burr.

Dispersal: Spread by seed in burrs. Burrs are spread attached to animals, clothing and bags, and burrs float and are moved by water.

Confused With: Other Cenchrus species, see taxonomic texts for detailed distinguishing features.


Grass with cylindrical spikes of burrs

Notes: Common in arid areas on light soils. Burrs reduce the value of wool and make shearing hazardous. Spines of burrs also penetrate hides lowering hide value. Burrs are also a problem with drying of fruit on drying racks.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 97–100. Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 4, 1993, pages 500–502. Flora of Victoria. N. Walsh and T. Entwisle (eds), Vol. 2, 1994, pages 614–615.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Top: Burrs of Cenchrus longispinus
Bottom: Cenchrus incertus

Burr showing slender & broad-based spines
photo P.Abell

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G15

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Spiny Burrgrass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - African Feather Grass

Weed Identification

Australia > > African Feather Grass

African Feather Grass

Pennisetum macrourum

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native of southern Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: A compact spike to 30 cm long and to 2 cm wide. Flowers spring to autumn.

Description: Tufted rhizomatous perennial to 2 m high. Leaf blades to 12 mm wide and to 60 cm long; ligule a fringe of hairs to 2.5 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by cylindrical seedhead; spikelets to 6 mm long surrounded at base by bristles 10–15 mm long that are rough to touch, not joined at the base and with 1 bristle longer and thicker than the rest.

Dispersal: Spreading mainly by rhizomes, and pieces transported after excavation. Spikelets fall with attached bristles that readily cling to clothes and wool. Spikelets are also spread by water and wind. Sometimes spread as an ornamental.

Confused With: Other Pennisetum species, see taxonomic texts for detailed distinguishing features.


Erect seedheads & leaves, Frankston,
Victoria, December
photo J.R. Hosking

Notes: Possibly introduced to Australia in hay brought back with horses after the Boer War. Spring and summer growing grass that is drought resistant, has low palatability, harbours rabbits, is a fire hazard and restricts access to watercourses. Often found on sandy soils.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia.W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 116–118. Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 4, 1993, pages 497–500. Flora of Victoria. N.Walsh and T. Entwisle (eds), Vol. 2, 1994, pages 611–612.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Cylindrical seedheads with bristles around
spikelets (seedhead bent for photo)

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G16

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > African Feather Grass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Coolatai Grass

Weed Identification

Australia > > Coolatai Grass

Coolatai Grass

Hyparrhenia hirta

Alternative Name(s): Tambookie Grass.

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native of Africa and the Mediterranean region.

Flowers/Seedhead: Seedhead to 90 cm long. Flowers all year round.

Description: Tufted perennial to 1.2 (rarely to 1.5) m high. Leaves 2–4 mm wide, green to blue-green, often with a whitish bloom; ligule 2–4 mm long. Spikelets in pairs, mostly with the lower spikelet sessile, 3–7 mm long and with or without an awn 10–25 (rarely to 35) mm long, the other spikelet 3–7 mm long, on a stalk and awnless.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by paired racemes; racemes 1.5–5 cm long with 5–13 awned spikelets; spikelets with whitish hairs.

Dispersal: Spread by seed.

Confused With: Hyparrhenia filipendula, Tambookie Grass, which usually has 2 awns per raceme and Hyparrhenia rufa, Jaragua Grass, which usually has reddish brown hairs on spikelets.


Spikelets with whitish hairs

Notes: Introduced for soil stabilisation in the Coolatai area. Locally abundant on the north western slopes of New South Wales and adjacent areas in Queensland but spreading to other areas and locally dominant on roadsides where it is displacing most other grasses and herbs. Now invading pasture areas. Not favoured by stock but a useful feed if not allowed to seed. Regrows rapidly from the crown following fire.

References:

    Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 4, 1993, pages 497–500. AusGrass: grasses of Austalia. D. Sharp & B. Simon, 2002.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Paired racemes, Sandon Point, NSW, May

Dominating roadside, Tamworth, NSW
photo J.R. Hosking

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G17

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Coolatai Grass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Torpedo Grass

Weed Identification

Australia > > Torpedo Grass

Torpedo Grass

Panicum repens

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native of southern Europe, Mediterranean Islands and Asia, widely naturalised and exact native range obscure.

Flowers/Seedhead: Seedhead to 25 cm long. Spikelets 2.2–2.6 mm long. Flowers summer.

Description: Rhizomatous perennial grass to 1.2 m high. Leaf sheath (around stem at base of leaf blade) hairless or hairy; leaf blade to 25 cm long and to 8 mm wide, hairy towards the base; rim of hairs on membrane at the base of the leaf blade (ligule) to 0.8 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by long rhizomes with tips and buds covered with hard scales; spikelets solitary; lower floret male; upper floret bisexual and with smooth and shiny lemma; lower glume 20–35% of spikelet length.

Dispersal: Spread by seed and movement of rhizomes.

Confused With: Other Panicum species, see taxonomic texts for detailed distinguishing features.


Hairy leaf base & mature seedhead Sept


Notes: Summer growing weed that grows on the margins of wetlands and watercourses. Major weed of wetlands in Florida, USA and potentially a serious weed in warm temperate and tropical Australia.

References:

    Waterplants in Australia. G. Sainty and S. Jacobs, 4th edition, 2003, pages 186–187. Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 4, 1993, page 488.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Grahamstown Reservoir,
Raymond Terrace, NSW, Aug

Raymond Terrace,
NSW, Dec

Robust rhizome

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G18

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Torpedo Grass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Cane Needlegrass

Weed Identification

Australia > > Cane Needlegrass

Cane Needlegrass

Nassella hyalina

THIS PLANT IS ON THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL ALERT LIST
http://www.weeds.gov.au/weeds/lists/alert.html

Alternative Name(s): Stipa hyalina.

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native of Argentina, south eastern Brazil and Uruguay.

Flowers/Seedhead: Seedhead a contracted panicle to about 20 cm long; glumes 9–12 mm long; end of lemma near callus with hairs, callus about 0.7 mm long; awns twice bent. Flowers spring and summer.

Description: Tufted perennial grass to 1.5 m high. Leaf blades to 4 mm wide; ligule to 2 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by nodes without hairs; glumes translucent to straw-coloured; cylindrical crown (corona) at the top of the lemma around the base of the awn, lemma 3.5–5 mm long, awns 3.5–4 cm long.

Dispersal: Spreads by movement of seeds produced in the seedheads and inside the stems above the nodes of flowering shoots.


Seedhead, node & ligule Thomastown, Vic, Dec.
Photos J. R. Hosking. Illustration adapted from Flora of Victoria

Notes: Uncommon in New South Wales but apparently reasonably common in the outer northern and western suburbs of Melbourne. Minor weed of neglected and urban land. Generally avoided by stock but will be eaten if more palatable grasses are not present.

References:

    Plant Protection Quarterly. N.Walsh, 1998, Vol. 13, pages 59–62. Plant Protection Quarterly. D. McLaren et al., 1998, Vol. 13, pages 62–70. Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 4, 1993, pages 638–639.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Seed & twisted awn.

Seeds

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G19

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Cane Needlegrass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Longstyle feather grass

Weed Identification

Australia > > Longstyle feather grass

Longstyle feather grass

Pennisetum villosum

Alternative Name(s): Feathertop, White Foxtail.

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Yemen.

Flowers/Seedhead: Seedhead is a dense spike 2–12 cm long and to 2 cm wide. Flowers summer and autumn.

Description: Tufted rhizomatous perennial grass to 90 cm high. Leaves to 6 mm wide and to 30 cm long; ligule a fringe of hairs to 2 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by cylindrical seedhead; spikelets 9–14 mm long and surrounded at base by light green or white (rarely purplish) bristles 3–7 cm long, inner bristles feather-like, bristles not joined at the base.

Dispersal: Spread by rhizomes and seed.

Confused With: Other Pennisetum species.


Cylindrical seedheads with feathery bristles
Oakey, Qld, May

Notes: Originally introduced as an ornamental, now widespread and locally common on roadsides and neglected land. Unpalatable to stock and increases in infested pasture. This grass is also naturalised in New Zealand, North and South America, Asia, South Africa, Italy and the Azores.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 121–123.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


White mature heads
Dubbo, NSW, March
photo J.J. Dellow

Infestation, Duri, NSW, March
photo J.R.Hosking

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G20

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Longstyle feather grass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Grader grass

Weed Identification

Australia > > Grader grass

Grader grass

Themeda quadrivalvis

Family: Poaceae

Form: Grass

Origin: Native of India and Nepal.

Flowers/Seedhead: Seedhead to 1.3 m long. Flowers mostly summer.

Description: Tufted erect annual grass to 2 m high. Leaves to 10 mm wide and to 60 cm long; ligule a membrane to 2.5 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by mature plants golden brown from a distance; loose seedhead with complex clusters of spikelets; tubercle-based (wart-like) hairs towards the tip of some glumes and the lemma with a twisted awn.

Dispersal: Spread by movement of seed by animals, in mud, by graders and in contaminated seed.

Confused With: Other Themeda species but these do not have tubercle-based hairs on the glumes, with the exception of Themeda intermedia which grows 3–5 m high.


Arrangement of spikelets &
tubercle-based hairs on some glumes
Bundaberg, Qld, April

Notes: First recorded in Australia in 1935. Now widespread and common in a number of areas of tropical and subtropical Australia. It may form continuous dense stands on roadsides. Fodder value of this grass is low and it displaces more useful species. Themeda quadrivalvis is also a problem in Sugar Cane, Lucerne and other legume crops and is also naturalised in the USA, New Caledonia, Fiji and Mauritius.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 136–138. Weeds of Natural Ecosystems: a Field Guide to Environmental Weeds of the Northern Territory, Australia. N. Smith, 1995, page 60.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Dense stand on roadside
Atherton, Qld, May

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G21

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Grader grass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Espartillo

Weed Identification

Australia > > Espartillo

Espartillo

Amelichloa brachychaeta

Alternative Name(s): Achnatherum brachychaetum, Stipa brachychaeta.

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native of Argentina and Uruguay.

Flowers/Seedhead: Open or contracted terminal panicle to 25 cm long and also few-flowered panicles within stems. Spikelets in terminal panicles 6–9 mm long. Flowers spring and summer.

Description: Tufted perennial grass to 1 m high. Leaf blades to 2.5 mm wide and rough to touch.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by seed with many hairs (see image); straight or bent awn to 1.8 cm long; modified spikelets (cleistogenes) inside stems above the nodes of flowering shoots and at the stem base.

Dispersal: Spread by movement of seed.

Confused With: Amelichloa caudata (previously Achnatherum caudatum and Stipa caudata) a naturalised species with much less hairy seeds (see photo).


Exposed seedheads Quipolly Dam, NSW, Nov
photo J.R. Hosking

Notes: Uncommon weed of pasture. Plants have little fodder value but young plants are eaten by stock. This grass is also naturalised in the USA and Spain.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 134–136. Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 4, 1993, page 646.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Seeds at base of
stem & in stem
Duri, NSW, Feb
photo J.R. Hosking

Seeds, awns &
purplish glumes

Seed comparison

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G22

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Espartillo

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Elephant Grass

Weed Identification

Australia > > Elephant Grass

Elephant Grass

Pennisetum purpureum

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native of tropical Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Seedhead a dense cylindrical spike to 30 cm long, usually brownish-yellow. Spikelets 4–7 mm long. Flowers summer and autumn.

Description: Tufted stoloniferous perennial grass. Leaves with ligule a fringe of hairs to 4 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by forming large clumps to 7.5 m high; cylindrical seedhead; spikelets surrounded at base by bristles 10–16 mm long, not joined at the base and with 1 bristle longer to 40 mm long; leaves to 1.2 m long and to 4 cm wide.

Dispersal: Spreads by stolons and seed.


Cylindrical spike & leaf ligule Caloundra, Qld, April
Photo: J.R.Hosking

Notes: Introduced as a windbreak and pasture grass. Favours moist conditions or high rainfall. Now naturalised along roadsides and on neglected land, its tall growth crowding out other species and obscuring vision on roads. Pennisetum purpureum is also naturalised in many countries around the world.

References:

    The World’s Worst Weeds. L. Holm et al., 1977, pages 367–371. Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 4, 1993, page 499. Alien Weeds and Invasive Plants. L. Henderson, 2001, page 16.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Brownish-yellow
seedheads
Mourilyang, Qld
May

Seed awns & glumes

Clumps, Innisfail, Qld, May

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G23

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Elephant Grass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Guinea Grass

Weed Identification

Australia > > Guinea Grass

Guinea Grass

Megathyrus maximus

Alternative Name(s): Green Panic, Panicum maximum, Urochloa maxima

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native of Africa and Asia (Yemen).

Flowers/Seedhead: Seedhead, when mature, an open panicle to 60 cm long. Spikelets 2.5–4 mm long, hairless or covered with soft hairs. Flowers all year round in some areas, and summer and autumn in cooler areas.

Description: Perennial (rarely annual) grass to 2 (rarely to 4.5) m high. Leaf blade to 18 mm wide; hairless to hairy with tubercle-based hairs; ligule 1.5–6 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by short stout rhizome covered with hairy scale-like leaves; lower panicle branches always in whorls; lower floret always male; lower glume 30–50% of the length of the spikelet; fertile lemma with small transverse wrinkles.

Dispersal: Spreads by seed and slowly via rhizomes and plants rooting from lower nodes.


Spreading panicles Theodore, Qld, April

Notes: Valuable fodder plant. A weed of roadsides, disturbed sites and crops. Introduced to central and South America where it burns readily preventing cleared land going back to forest. Three varieties are naturalised in Queensland, M. maximus var. coloratus (Panicum maximum var. coloratum) which has hairless glumes and is hairy at the junction of the leaf blade and leaf sheath; Guinea Grass, M. maximus var. maximus (P. maximum var. maximum) which has hairless glumes and is hairless at the junction of the leaf blade and leaf sheath and Green Panic, M. maximus var. pubiglumis (P. maximum var. trichoglume) which has shortly hairy glumes.

References:

    References: The World’s Worst Weeds. L. Holm et al., 1977, pages 348–351. Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 4, 1993, page 487. AusGrass: grasses of Australia. CD, D. Sharp and B. Simon, 2002.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Dense stand
Telegraph Point
NSW, Feb
Photo: J.R.Hosking

Tall grass
Mackay, Qld
May

Hairless spikelets

Hairy spikelets

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G24

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Guinea Grass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Plumerillo

Weed Identification

Australia > > Plumerillo

Plumerillo

Jarava plumosa

IMPORTANT: IF YOU SUSPECT THE PRESENCE OF THIS PLANT, PLEASE REPORT IT BY CALLING 1800 084 881 (local call cost anywhere in Australia).


Alternative Name(s): Stipa papposa.

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native of southern Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile.

Flowers/Seedhead: Seedhead 10–20 cm long; awns twice bent, 1.5–3 cm long. Flowering recorded in summer and autumn.

Description: Tufted perennial grass to 80 cm high. Leaf blades to 2 mm wide; ligule 0.1–0.5 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by hairless nodes; glumes 5–7 mm long; lemma 6–9 mm long with spreading, 5–6 mm long, hairs in the top 1.5–2 mm that obscure the base of awn.

Dispersal: Spread by seed that is adapted for wind dispersal.


Seedheads, Chile from Sydney herbarium specimen

Notes: Introduced to South Australia as a trial pasture plant but has little fodder value and seeds are a problem to stock. It subsequently naturalised on the Waite campus of the University of Adelaide and in parklands bordering Adelaide. Attempts have been made to remove the species from both locations. This grass is also naturalised in Spain and Israel.

References:

    Flora of Australia. A. Wilson (ed), 2009, Vol. 44A, pages 62–63. Plant Protection Quarterly. D. McLaren et al., 1998, Vol. 13, pages 62–70. Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, J. Gardner et al., 1996, Vol. 17, pages 173–176.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Glumes are shorter
than the lemma,
Chile

In native range
La Serena,
Chile
Photo: Ximena Nazal Manzur

Base of plant

Hairs present towards apex of lemma
obscuring base of awn

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G25

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Plumerillo

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Toetoe

Weed Identification

Australia > > Toetoe

Toetoe

Cortaderia richardii

IMPORTANT: IF YOU SUSPECT THE PRESENCE OF THIS PLANT, PLEASE REPORT IT BY CALLING 1800 084 881 (local call cost anywhere in Australia).


Alternative Name(s): New Zealand Pampas Grass, Cortaderia.

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native of New Zealand.

Flowers/Seedhead: Seedhead to 1 m long. Glumes equal, about 20 mm long, lemma to 10 mm long with awn to 15 mm long and palea to 6 mm long. Flowers spring and summer.

Description: Tussocky perennial grass to 3 m high. Leaves with blades to 2 m long and to 2.5 cm wide, lower surface with sparse long hairs, upper surface rough to touch particularly in upper third, upper surface with hairs on midrib (particularly towards base), margins with many forward directed prickle-like teeth; ligule to 3.5 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished from the South American Cortaderia species by the whitish waxy layer on the leaf sheath (part of leaf wrapped around stem); leaf blade with distinct veins between the mid vein and leaf edge; untwisted dead leaf tips; slender, nodding, light brown to golden heads.

Dispersal: Spread by movement of seed, plantings and garden waste.


Ornamental plant, Christchurch, New Zealand, January
Photo: F. Howard

Notes: This species produces separate hermaphrodite and female plants. A weed in Tasmania, it grows in disturbed and undisturbed areas and favours swampy areas, or land periodically flooded.

References:

    Flora of New Zealand. E. Edgar and H. Conner, 2000, Vol. 5, pages 496–497. Flora of Australia. A. Wilson (ed), 2005, Vol. 44B, pages 62–63. Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 104–105.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Dry leaf showing veins, New Zealand

Dry spikelets, New Zealand

Cortaderia jubata leaves

Cortaderia richardii leaf showing veins
Photo: D. Earl

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G26

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Toetoe

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - American Rat’s Tail Grass

Weed Identification

Australia > > American Rat’s Tail Grass

American Rat’s Tail Grass

Sporobolus jacquemontii

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native of southeastern USA to Colombia and Brazil.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers all year.

Description: Tufted perennial to 75 cm high. Leaf blades to 40 cm long; ligule a fringe of hairs or a fringed membrane to 0.3 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by leaf blades 2.5–3 mm wide; seedhead 8–25 cm long with overlapping branches spreading at maturity but not pyramid-shaped, lowest node of seedhead with 1 main branch; spikelets 1.5–2 mm long with upper glume less than half the spikelet length, lower glume about half length of upper glume; grain 0.8–1 mm long.

Dispersal: Seed spread by water, wind and machinery.

Confused With: Other Sporobolus species, see references below for detailed distinguishing features.


Lower part of flowering spikelet

Notes: Prolific seed producer with a high seed viability. Summer-growing grass that is relatively unpalatable to stock. Some treat this species as the same as Sporobolus pyramidalis or as a variety of S. pyramidalis.

References:

    Australian Systematic Botany. B. Simon and S. Jacobs, Vol. 12, 1999, pages 375–448. AusGrass: grasses of Australia. CD, D. Sharp and B. Simon, 2002.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Seedhead and flowering spikelet
drawings L. Elkan, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

Spikelets

Fibrous roots

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G27

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > American Rat’s Tail Grass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Giant Rat's Tail Grass

Weed Identification

Australia > > Giant Rat's Tail Grass

Giant Rat's Tail Grass

Sporobolus natalensis

Family: Poaceae

Form: Grass

Origin: Native of south and central Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers all year.

Description: Tufted perennial to 1.5 m high. Leaf blades to 50 cm long; ligule a fringe of hairs or a fringed membrane to 0.4 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by leaf blades 2-7.5 mm wide; seedhead 20-30 cm long with overlapping branches spreading at maturity to be pyramid-shaped, lowest node of seedhead with 1 main branch; spikelets 1.6-2.3 mm long with lower glume at least half as long as spikelet length, upper glume about 60% length of lower glume; grain 0.7-0.8 mm long.

Dispersal: Seed spread by water, wind and machinery.

Confused With: Other Sporobolus species, see references below for detailed distinguishing features.


Lower part of seedheads

Notes: Prolific seed producer with a high seed viability. Summer growing grass that is relatively unpalatable to stock.

References:

    Australian Systematic Botany. B. Simon and S. Jacobs, Vol. 12, 1999, pages 375-448. AusGrass: grasses of Australia. CD, D. Sharp and B. Simon, 2002.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Spikelet and seedhead
drawings L. Elkan, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

Spikelets

Spikelet on seedhead

Tuft, Mt Mee, Qld, November

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G28

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Giant Rat's Tail Grass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Parramatta Grass

Weed Identification

Australia > > Parramatta Grass

Parramatta Grass

Sporobolus africanus

Alternative Name(s): Sporobolus indicus var. capensis.

Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native of Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers all year but mostly spring to autumn.

Description: Tufted perennial grass to 1.1 m high. Leaf blades 6-30 cm long; ligule a fringed membrane or a fringe of hairs to 0.3 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by leaf blade 1-4 mm wide; seedhead 10-30 cm long with branches close to the stem and overlapping, lowest node of seedhead with 1 main branch; spikelets 2-2.8 mm long with upper glume at least half the spikelet length, lower glume about 50% length of upper glume; grain 1.1-1.3 mm long.

Dispersal: Seed spread by water, wind and machinery.


Seedhead comparison, Sydney, March

Notes: Leaves are tough and wiry making it difficult to mow. Widespread and common weed of roadsides, recreation areas and wasteland. Also a problem in dairy pastures in northern Victoria.

References:

    Australian Systematic Botany. B. Simon and S. Jacobs, Vol. 12, 1999, pages 375-448. Grasses of New South Wales. 3rd edition, D. Wheeler et al., 2002, pages 370-372. AusGrass: grasses of Australia. CD, D. Sharp and B. Simon, 2002.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Leaves

Spikelet
drawing L. Elkan
Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

Root system

Seedheads

Tuft, Engadine, NSW, Feb

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G30

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Australia > > Parramatta Grass

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Crofton Weed

Weed Identification

Australia > > Crofton Weed

Crofton Weed

Ageratina adenophora

Alternative Name(s): Eupatorium adenophorum.

Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native to Central America.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers: Clusters of white, tubular flowers. The clusters produced in profusion in early spring.

Description: Erect many-stemmed perennial to about 2 m tall. Stems purplish. Roots thick, yellowish, extensive in mature plants. Seed brown to black, angular, 1.5–2 mm long, with a parachute-like plume of white hairs (pappus) about 4 mm long at the top of the seed.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by some hairs that are sticky, clusters of white flowers, ribs of seeds hairless, triangular to rhombic opposite leaves, and roots with a carrot-like smell when broken.

Dispersal: Seeds carried by water and by strong wind. Transported in hay, machinery, vehicles, clothing and mud.

Confused With: Mistflower Ageratina riparia, which has hairs that are not sticky and seeds with hairs on ribs.


Flowers & opposite leaves

Notes: Persistent weed of high rainfall areas. Tolerant of wet soils and will extend into wetlands. Introduced to Sydney region in 1904 and spread to the north coast of NSW in the 1920s. Now widespread and common in coastal summer rainfall areas in NSW and SE Queensland.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 239–242.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Seedlings

Opposite serrated leaves & purplish stem

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H01

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Australia > > Crofton Weed

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Parthenium Weed

Weed Identification

Australia > > Parthenium Weed

Parthenium Weed

Parthenium hysterophorus

THIS PLANT HAS BEEN DECLARED A WEED OF NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE

Alternative Name(s): Bitter Weed, Feverfew, False Ragweed, Whitetop.

Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native to tropical America.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers: In a branched panicle. Flowers most of year in tropics and subtropics.

Description: Erect annual to about 1.5 m tall. Seed black, 2–3.5 mm long, topped with membranous white scales about 0.5 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by flowers in heads about 4 mm wide with 5 small petal-like ray florets (see photo), deeply lobed leaves at the rosette stage, and single stemmed habit of the mature plant and lobed leaves covered in fine hair.

Dispersal: Seeds carried by water and wind. Transported in hay, machinery, mud and by stock.

Confused With: Ragweeds Ambrosia spp., before flowering.


Mature plants are normally
about 1 m tall

Notes: Can germinate, flower, and set seed in 4–6 weeks. Flowering continues until the plant dies. Seeds are viable for up to about 2 years. Colonises roadsides, fallow and overgrazed land. Generally shunned by stock; if eaten it will taint meat and milk. Prolonged contact can cause asthma, acute dermatitis and respiratory problems in humans.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 292–296. The Biology of Australian Weeds. F. Panetta et al. (eds), Vol. 2, 1998, pages 157–176.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Ribbed stem

Flowers with 5 small petal-like ray
florets & leaf

Juvenile with deeply
lobed leaves

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H02

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Australia > > Parthenium Weed

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Ground Asparagus

Weed Identification

Australia > > Ground Asparagus

Ground Asparagus

Asparagus aethiopicus

THIS PLANT HAS BEEN DECLARED A WEED OF NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE

Alternative Name(s): Basket Asparagus, Sprenger's Asparagus, Asparagus Fern, Protasparagus aethiopicus, Protasparagus densiflorus (misapplied), Asparagus densiflorus (misapplied).

Family: Asparagaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of southern and eastern Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers: White or pale pink, bell-shaped to 4 mm long and located in groups (racemes) arising at the base of membranous bracts. Flowers spring to autumn.

Description: Perennial shrub or scrambler, growing from thick tuberous roots formed on the rhizomes (see photo). Fruit a berry to 8 mm wide containing 1 to a few black seeds about 4 mm in diameter.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by thin (linear) flattened stems to 3 mm wide and to 2.5 cm long that assume the form and function of a leaf (cladodes) and berries that ripen red.

Dispersal: Readily grows from pieces and spreads into the bush from dumped garden waste. Seeds spread by birds and water.


Ripe fruit & 'leaves' which are
flattened stems (cladodes)

Notes: Persistent weed of urban bushland. Shade tolerant and grows best in shaded areas where other vegetation has been removed. Often found growing near abandoned houses or near habitation where pieces have been dumped. Continues to be sold as an ornamental in southern states and its range is increasing.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 47–48. Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 4, 1993, page 46. Weeds. B. Auld and R. Medd, 1987, page 30.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Tubers, rhizomes
& roots

Juvenile growth

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H03

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Australia > > Ground Asparagus

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Fishbone Fern

Weed Identification

Australia > > Fishbone Fern

Fishbone Fern

Nephrolepis cordifolia

Family: Davalliaceae

Form: Herb

Origin: Native to Australia, probably pantropical but taxonomy is confused.

Flowers/Seedhead: Spores: Produced in sori (see photo) between the midvein and the margin on the lower side of frond segments (pinnae).

Description: Tufted erect or arching ferns to 1 m high. Fern leaves (fronds) to 1 m long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by stolons that often produce hairy globe-shaped tubers; midrib of fronds bearing scales only (not hairs); fronds narrow, pinnate, frond segments (pinnules) with shallow rounded teeth on margins and a blunt tip. Stolons and tubers covered with shining pale brown scales that have scattered teeth on the margins.

Dispersal: Spores and locally by stolons.

Confused With: Other species of Nephrolepis. Boston Fern Nephrolepis exaltata, a native of America is also naturalised in a number of locations around Australia.


Hardy fern growing in a garden at Darlinghurst, NSW

Notes: Native of rainforest or open forest in eastern Queensland and north eastern NSW. Naturalised in the Sydney, Melbourne and Perth regions. Sometimes a weed of gardens, bushland and cultivation.

References:

    Flora of Australia. G. Bell, 1998, Vol. 48, pages 441–443. Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 1, 1990, page 63.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Stolon covered with shiny scales.
Note kidney-shaped sori on frond segment

Stolons with tubers

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H04

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Australia > > Fishbone Fern

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Sorrel

Weed Identification

Australia > > Sorrel

Sorrel

Acetosella vulgaris

Alternative Name(s): Rumex acetosella

Family: Polygonaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Probably native of Europe; now cosmopolitan especially in temperate regions.

Flowers/Seedhead: In slender terminal heads that mature reddish. Flowers spring to early summer.

Description: Variable slender prostrate to ascending perennial to 50 cm high. Leaves with blade to 10cm long on stalk about 1 cm long. Seeds smooth and shiny, 1–1.5 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by rhizomatous growth and spear-shaped leaves with distinct basal lobes (see photo).

Dispersal: Spread by seed and rhizomes.


Leaf shape is characteristic

Notes: Widespread and common. Usually germinates in autumn or winter. Seldom grazed and may be locally dominant in temperate pastures. Contains oxalates and is suspected of poisoning stock. Also a weed of crops in temperate Australia. Has been used as a vegetable.

References:

    Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 1, 1990, page 292. Flora of Victoria. N. Walsh and T. Entwisle (eds), Vol. 3, 1996, page 294. Weeds. B. Auld and R. Medd, 1987, page 207. Western Weeds A Guide to the Weeds of Western Australia. B. Hussey et al., 1997, page 200.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Seeds

Spreading root system

Widespread weed of pasture, Dalgety, NSW

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H05

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Australia > > Sorrel

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Wild Radish

Weed Identification

Australia > > Wild Radish

Wild Radish

Raphanus raphanistrum

Family: Brassicaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native to Mediterranean region.

Flowers/Seedhead: In branched racemes. Flowers late winter to summer.

Description: Erect annual, or less often biennial, herb to 1 (rarely to 1.5 m) high. Leaves variable, with bristle-like hairs; basal leaves to about 30 cm long, lobed with terminal lobe much larger than lower lobes; upper leaves shorter and highest leaves often undivided. Fruit with up to 12 seeds. Seeds ovoid to globe-shaped, to 3 mm long, net-like veins on surface, red to yellow-brown. Taproot wiry to over 1 m deep; laterals roots fibrous.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by heart-shaped first leaves (cotyledons) on seedlings; white to yellow or mauve petals often violet-veined, sometimes veins indistinct. Fruit to 9 cm long (including beak), and strongly constricted between seeds, breaking into 1-seeded ribbed units at maturity. Stems with bristle-like hairs.

Dispersal: Seed spread by animals, wind and water. Mostly spread by agricultural products containing the seed.


Upper immature fruit & lower more mature fruit
photo J.J.Dellow & R.W.Medd

Notes: Widespread major weed of winter crops in southern Australia. Plants are toxic to stock but generally not eaten. Roots have a distinct radish flavour. The bulk of Wild Radish seeds germinate after autumn rains. Dormancy and longevity are two important characteristics of the seed that enable the species to survive and persist. Common on wasteland and disturbed places.

References:

    Biology of Australian Weeds. F. Panetta et al. Vol. 2, 1998, pages 207–224. Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 348–351.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Petals white or yellow,
often veined
photo J.J.Dellow & R.W.Medd

Left: Heart-shaped cotyledons
Right: Rosettes form autumn–spring
photos J.J.Dellow & R.W.Medd

Mature fruit breaks into
1-seeded units

On roadside, Perth, WA

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H06

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Australia > > Wild Radish

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Branched Broomrape

Weed Identification

Australia > > Branched Broomrape

Branched Broomrape

Orobanche ramosa

IMPORTANT: IF YOU SUSPECT THE PRESENCE OF THIS PLANT, PLEASE REPORT IT BY CALLING 1800 084 881 (local call cost anywhere in Australia).


Family: Orobanchaceae or Scrophulariaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of southern Europe, western Asia, Middle East and northern Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers: Pale blue, tubular and two-lipped with lower lip three-lobed and upper lip shallowly two-lobed. An erect spike of flowers appears in spring and summer.

Description: Mature plants to about 20 cm tall with several branches from ground level. Stems with dense soft woolly hairs on the upper part. Leaves reduced to a few brown scales to 8 mm long. Capsule enclosed in persistent corolla. Seeds pepper-like, up to 40,000 per plant.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by branched yellow-brown glandular-hairy stems; absence of green parts; blue flowers.

Dispersal: Spread by seed.

Confused With: Other species of Orobanche in Australia; see a specialist to confirm identification.


Broomrape parasitising Capeweed, SA
photo PIRSA

Notes: Parasitic on many broadleaved plants; known hosts in Australia are Canola, Carrot, Lettuce, Tomato, Capeweed, Vetch and Medic. Seeds remain viable for up to 10 years in soil, and germination is stimulated by plant root exudates. Seeds germinate underground and the seedling needs to attach to a suitable host root for further growth. Plant dies within a few weeks of appearing above ground but the dried plant may remain visible for several months. In 2000 it was reported as scattered across a 70 x 70 km area near Murray Bridge, South Australia. Weed of broadleaved crops in other countries.

References:

    Plant Protection Quarterly. R. Carter and D. Cooke, 1994, Vol. 9, pages 61–63. Farmer Alert, Keep Your Markets Safe, Grains Research Development Council, 2000.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Lipped mauve flower, Fresno, California
photo B. Fischer

Right, tomato root
Left, Broomrape stem
photo B. Fischer

Plant drying off after flowering
photo PIRSA

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H07

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Australia > > Branched Broomrape

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Paterson’s Curse

Weed Identification

Australia > > Paterson’s Curse

Paterson’s Curse

Echium plantagineum

Alternative Name(s): Salvation Jane

Family: Boraginaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of the Mediterranean region across to Portugal.

Flowers/Seedhead: To 3 cm long. Flowers all year but mainly late winter to early summer.

Description: Erect annual herb to 60 (rarely to 150) cm high. Stems one to several. Stems and leaves hairy with coarse hairs and sometimes shorter soft hairs. Leaves oval to lanceolate; basal leaves, in a rosette, to 20 (rarely to 30) cm long, with a short stalk; stem leaves reducing in size towards flowers.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by leaves with spreading hairs having an enlarged base; flowers in caterpillar-like curved spikes; funnel-shaped flowers, usually purple but also blue or pink, less often white, unevenly lobed; stamens with filaments much longer than anthers, 2 stamens longer than the others and projecting past the flower tube; fruit consisting of 4 tuberculate three-sided nutlets (although some may not develop).

Dispersal: Spread by seed. Long distance spread often via fodder.

Confused With: Vipers Bugloss, Echium vulgare, which has 4 stamens projecting past flower tube (as opposed to 2 in Paterson’s Curse).


Purplish flowers with 2 longer stamens
Wauchope, NSW

Notes: Initially introduced as an ornamental. Poisoning of sheep after years of grazing has been recorded; poisonous to pigs and horses. Crowds out more useful pasture species. Considered to be useful for build up of bee numbers early in the honey production season. Biological control agents have been released for control of this species.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 325–330. Biology of Australian Weeds. R. Groves et al., Vol. 1, 1995, pages 87–110.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Seedling
photo J.J.Dellow

Juvenile
photo J.J.Dellow

Dense growth, Cadia, NSW, November
photo J.J.Dellow

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H08

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Australia > > Paterson’s Curse

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Fireweed

Weed Identification

Australia > > Fireweed

Fireweed

Senecio madagascariensis

THIS PLANT HAS BEEN DECLARED A WEED OF NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE

Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of South Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Inflorescence a loose cluster of flowerheads. Flowers all year, chiefly autumn to late spring.

Description: Mostly erect annual or biennial herb to 70 cm high. Leaves variable, to 8 cm long and to1.5 cm wide.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by lanceolate to elliptic leaves that are not deeply dissected; bracts around flowerheads (involucral bracts) 19–21 in one row, these bracts to 6 mm long; 12–15 petal-like yellow ray florets with strap-like parts to 1 cm long; seeds to 2.5 mm long topped by hairs (pappus) to 6.5 mm long.

Dispersal: Most spread is by wind dispersed seed. Long distance dispersal also occurs by seeds on animals, in stock feed or in mud on vehicles.

Confused With: Small plants of Variable Groundsel, Senecio lautus ssp. dissectifolius (with 19–21involucral bracts) that are not large enough to have dissected leaves .


19–21 bracts around flowerheads
Stroud, NSW, Aug
photo J.R.Hosking

Notes: Serious weed particularly of coastal pastures in eastern Australia where it covers thousands of hectares. First recorded in the lower Hunter Valley in 1918. Losses result from decreased pasture production and reductions in growth rates, or death, of cattle and horses caused bypyrrolizidine alkaloids occurring in the plant. Native insects and diseases found on native Senecio also cause death of Fireweed plants.

References:

    Biology of Australian Weeds. F. Panetta et al., (eds), Vol. 2, 1998, pages 247–267. Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 304–305.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Seedling, Silverwater, NSW, May

Covering hillside, Gloucester region
NSW, August
photo J.R.Hosking

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H09

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Australia > > Fireweed

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Arum Lily

Weed Identification

Australia > > Arum Lily

Arum Lily

Zantedeschia aethiopica

Family: Araceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of South Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flower stem about as high as the tops of the leaves. Upper half to three quarters of flowerspike (spadix) is male and lower part female. Flowers late winter to summer.

Description: Robust clump-forming, perennial herb to 1.5 m high. Plants with tuberous underground stems (rhizomes) and fleshy white roots. Leaves with blade 15–50 cm long and 8–25 cm wide, on fleshy stalks 40–110 cm long. Fruit green or yellow, about 1 cm wide; seeds yellow-orange, about 3 mm wide.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by dark green shiny leaves that are arrow-shaped to ovate with a heart-shaped base, and have main veins the same colour as the rest of the leaves; showy white funnel-shaped part of inflorescence (spathe) 10–25 cm long surrounding spike of yellow flowers.

Dispersal: Spread by seed and movement of rhizomes.


Leaves arrow-shaped on long stalks

Notes: A common garden plant toxic to stock and humans with fatalities in both recorded. Naturalised on damp land and stream banks in temperate Australia. Thrives on sandy soil with a periodic high water table. A serious weed along creek lines and in wet areas of south western Western Australia. Frequently sold in the cut flower trade. Seeds germinate readily, but do not remain viable from year to year.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 41–43. Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 4, 1993, pages32–33. Flora of Victoria. N. Walsh and T. Entwisle (eds), Vol. 2, 1994, pages167–168. Western Weeds A Guide to the Weeds of Western Australia. B. Hussey et al., 1997, page 20–21.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


White bract encloses small
yellow flower

Clustered fruit at
base of spadix

Invading neglected land near Perth, WA

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H10.
More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

It has also been included in the 'Jumping the Garden Fence' report (WWF-Australia PDF - 1.19mb) which examines the impact of invasive garden plants on Australian agricultural land and natural ecosystems.

 

Australia > > Arum Lily

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Tobacco Weed

Weed Identification

Australia > > Tobacco Weed

Tobacco Weed

Elephantopus mollis

Alternative Name(s): Elephant’s Foot

Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of tropical America and Caribbean Islands.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowerheads with 1–5 small flowers to 5 mm long; many flowerheads per stem. Flowers all year but chiefly autumn.

Description: Perennial herb to 1.5 m high. Stems with long soft hairs. Leaves ovate to lanceolate, hairy,5–22 cm long, 3–10 cm wide, margins of leaves shallowly to sharply toothed, lower surface gland-dotted and resinous; leaf stalk winged and base extending down stem. Seeds black.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by alternate leaves; flowerheads to 2 cm wide, surrounded by 3 leaf-like bracts about 1cm long and 0.8 cm wide; small flowers all tubular, white, about 4 mm long, hairless outside; seeds about3 mm long, densely covered in fine short hairs, apex with 5 white bristles 3–4.5 mm long, each with abroad base; receptacle (where seeds attach) without scales.

Dispersal: Seed by wind, water, in mud or attached to fur and clothing.

Confused With: Other Elephantopus species .Native Elephantopus scaber usually has blue flowers and stems with reduced or no leaves.


Flowerheads & leaves with wings
extending down stem
Inset: heads
photo Qld Dept Natural Resources & Mines

Notes: Introduced as an ornamental. Widespread weed of pastures and plantations in tropical areas. Recorded as a major weed in the Pacific region. Invasive in high rainfall tropical regions. Hairs on leaves and stems cause irritation if touched. Only known from near Mackay and Millaa Millaa (southern Atherton Tablelands) in Queensland and Murwillumbah, NSW.

References:

    Biological control: Pacific prospects. D. Waterhouse and K. Norris, 1987, pages 277–280.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Dense stand, Mackay, Qld. Inset: Juvenile

Covering hillside at Mackay,
Qld

Entire plants

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H11

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Australia > > Tobacco Weed

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Sicklepod

Weed Identification

Australia > > Sicklepod

Sicklepod

Senna obtusifolia

Alternative Name(s): Cassia obtusifolia, Java Bean.

Family: Fabaceae or Caesalpiniaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of tropical America.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers: Flowers usually in pairs in upper leaf axils. Flowers with petals about 1 cm long. Flowers late summer to winter.

Description: Annual or short-lived perennial shrub to 2 m high. Stems with woody base and branches usually sparsely hairy on newest growth. Leaflets sparsely hairy. Seeds rhomboid, flattened, shiny brown to olive, to 5.5 mm long and oblique in seedpods.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by absence of spines and prickles; leaves with 2 or 3 pairs of leaflets that are 0.8–5 (rarely to 7) cm long with erect gland between lowest 1 or 2 pairs of leaflets, leaves emit foetid smell when crushed; seedpod to 18 cm long and to 0.5 cm wide, slightly flattened and sickle-shaped; seeds with transverse groove (areole) 0.3–0.5 mm wide on each side.

Dispersal: Seeds explosively released from ripe pods. Long distance dispersal mainly by water, in mud, with harvested sugar cane or by vehicles and machinery. Seeds also germinate in livestock dung.

Confused With: Other Senna species, see taxonomic texts for detailed distinguishing features.


Seedpods are long & sickle-shaped,
Kapalga, NT, May

Notes: Seeds remain viable for many years. Serious invader of crops and pasture land in wet tropics. Rarely eaten by stock.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 457–459. Sicklepod (Senna obtusifolia) in Queensland. A. Mackey et al., 1997, Department of Natural Resources, Queensland.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Leaves with 2–3 pairs of leaflets
photo C. Wilson

Dense growth, Timor, Feb
photo C. Wilson

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H12

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Australia > > Sicklepod

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Annual Ragweed

Weed Identification

Australia > > Annual Ragweed

Annual Ragweed

Ambrosia artemisiifolia

Alternative Name(s): Common Ragweed

Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of North America.

Flowers/Seedhead: Male inflorescence a terminal spike to 15 cm long. Male flowers greenish-yellow, 10–100 per head. Female flowers one per head. Flowers late summer and autumn.

Description: Erect annual herb to 2 (rarely to 3.5) m high. Leaves grey-green, hairy, variable, lower leaves ovate to lanceolate in outline, with blade to 16 cm long, 1–7 cm wide on a stalk to 10 (usually1–3) cm long; finely divided; upper leaves sometimes without lobes and often almost without a stalk.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by annual shallow-rooted growth; lower leaves twice divided (bipinnate); male flowers in drooping cone-shaped clusters in spikes above female flowers which are hidden in leaf axils; 'seeds' hairless or sparsely hairy, with a ring of 4–7 spines each about 1 mm long.

Dispersal: Spread by seed attached to animals or in mud.

Confused With: Other Ambrosia species, see taxonomic texts for detailed distinguishing features. May also be confused with Chinese Wormwood, Artemisia verlotiorum, but Artemisia species have flowerheads that contain clusters of flowers of both sexes.


Many branched stems with erect flower
spikes Florida, USA

Notes: Weed of roadsides, wastelands and occasionally cultivation. Major cause of allergy with pollen causing flu-like symptoms; contact with the plant can also cause skin allergies. The stem-galling moth, Epiblema strenuana, introduced for control of Parthenium Weed, Parthenium hysterophorus, reduces Annual Ragweed populations in warmer areas.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 245–248.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Spikes of hooded male flowers & single female
flowers at leaf bases, Nimbin, NSW, April

Immature fruit with spines

Roots

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H13

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Annual Ragweed

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Mother-of-Millions

Weed Identification

Australia > > Mother-of-Millions

Mother-of-Millions

Bryophyllum delagoense

Alternative Name(s): Kalanchoe tubiflora, Bryophyllum tubiflorum.

Family: Crassulaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native to Madagascar.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers: In a flat-topped cluster with drooping, bell-shaped, orange-red to scarlet, 4-lobed flowers 2–3cm long. Flowers mainly winter to spring.

Description: Perennial herb to 1 m high. Leaves notched near apex, 2–15 cm long, succulent, without a stalk (sessile). Fruit dry and containing many seeds.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by erect cylindrical stems; simple, almost cylindrical, pale green to pale brown leaves with dark green patches and a shallow groove on the upper surface, often with plantlets produced towards the apex, and drooping tubular flowers.

Dispersal: Seed and by plantlets produced in notches on the margin of the cylindrical leaves.

Confused With: Hybrid Mother-of-Millions Bryophyllum daigremontianum x Bryophyllum delagoense has V-shaped leaves (see photo). This hybrid is widespread in south-east Queensland and northern NSW but is not as common as Bryophyllum delagoense.


Flowers tubular & orange-red

Notes: Mother-of-Millions forms colonies on roadsides and vacant land. Garden escape. Plants, particularly flowers, are poisonous to stock.

References:

    Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 1, 1990, page 528. Weeds. B. Auld and R. Medd, 1987, page 157.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Hybrid Mother-of-Millions B. daigremontianum
x B. delagoense has folded leaves

Leaves purplish-pink, nearly round with
plantlets at the tip

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H14.
More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

It has also been included in the 'Jumping the Garden Fence' report (WWF-Australia PDF - 1.19mb) which examines the impact of invasive garden plants on Australian agricultural land and natural ecosystems.

 

Australia > > Mother-of-Millions

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Horehound

Weed Identification

Australia > > Horehound

Horehound

Marrubium vulgare

Family: Lamiaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of southern and western Europe, western and central Asia, North Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Petals white. Flowers all year, mostly summer and autumn.

Description: Perennial spreading herb to 80 cm high. Leaves to 7 cm long, margins with rounded teeth; hairs on leaves and stems long and star-shaped. Fruit a burr with backward facing hooks. Seeds about 2mm long, with a roughened surface. Deeply rooted with woody taproot and fibrous lateral roots.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by flowers in dense clusters around the stem above the leaf axils; leaves grey-green, opposite, woolly and aromatic, and stems 4-angled.

Dispersal: Mostly by fruit with hooks that attach to wool, fur, bags and other material. Spread also occurs via waterways.


Leaf upper surface wrinkled & grey-green;
lower white & woolly

Notes: A hardy, widespread weed of disturbed areas. Common around sheep camps and stock yards. Unpalatable to stock and with its free seeding habit quickly spreads. Horehound is a weed throughout much of the temperate world. Horehound has been used as an ornamental and for brewing of beer. Biological control agents have been released and are showing promise, especially in higher rainfall areas.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 496–499. Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 3, 1992, pages 639–640.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Flowers & fruit. Inset: Seedlings
photo J.R.Hosking

Complete groundcover,
McKillops Bridge, Vic, May

Seeds

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H15

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Horehound

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - St John's Wort

Weed Identification

Australia > > St John's Wort

St John's Wort

Hypericum perforatum

Family: Clusiaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of Europe, western Asia, North Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers: About 2 cm wide with 5 bright yellow petals. Flowers late spring and summer.

Description: Perennial rhizomatous herb with erect stems to 1.2 m high. Leaves hairless, paler on the lower surface, ovate to narrow-oblong to about 3 cm long. Stems with opposite weakly pronounced longitudinal ridges and with occasional black glands. Fruit sticky, containing many pitted seeds about 1 mm long. Roots to 1 m deep; rhizomes shallow producing many buds.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by numerous translucent glands on the leaves (obvious when leaves are held to the light), and yellow flowers often with black glands on the petal margins (look like dots—see photo).

Dispersal: Spread by seed, growth of rhizomes and movement of cut sections of rhizomes.


Flowers with black gland dots on petal margins

Notes: There are two varieties, var. perforatum with broad leaves and var. angustifolium with narrow leaves but intermediates are also common. One plant will produce thousands of seeds and these may remain viable in the soil for many years. Introduced to Australia in 1800s, and still spreading, especially on roadsides and cleared land. Major weed in USA and Canada. In Australia biocontrol has been partly successful but work is still continuing. Hypericin is concentrated in oil glands and causes photosensitisation in light skinned stock especially sheep.

References:

    The Biology of Australian Weeds. R. Groves et al. (eds), Vol. 1, 1995, pages 149–167. Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 387–391.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Fruit is sticky and 3-celled

Dense stand in paddock,
near Wyangala Dam, NSW, November

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H16

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > St John's Wort

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Hemlock

Weed Identification

Australia > > Hemlock

Hemlock

Conium maculatum

Family: Apiaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of Europe, western Asia and northern Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Inflorescence an umbel 2–8 cm wide. Flowers with 5 petals each about 1.2 mm long. Flowers spring and summer.

Description: Erect annual to biennial herb to 2 (rarely to 3) m high. Plants hairless. Stems branched, striate. Leaves to 50 cm long and to 40 cm wide, margins toothed; leaf stalk to 60 cm long, purpleblotched, hollow. Fruit grey to brown.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by offensive aroma when crushed; stems pale green to blue-green and spotted red-brown to purple, hollow except at nodes; leaves dissected a number of times; flowers in terminal and axillary umbels with 4–20 arms, petals white; fruit 2.5–4 mm long, ovoid to globe-shaped, slightly flattened, ribs conspicuous and undulate.

Dispersal: Spread by seed in mud, produce, clothing and water.

Confused With: Bishop’s Weed, Ammi majus, which has less divided leaves, solid stems, and an absence of spots on the stem.


Dense clumps, Bathurst, NSW
photo J. J. Dellow

Notes: Widespread, locally common in damp areas, particularly along watercourses. First introduced to Australia in the 1800s. All parts of the plant contains alkaloids very toxic to humans and stock. Livestock avoid eating Hemlock. A problem in many temperate areas around the world.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia.W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 167–169.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Fruit

Juveniles & seedlings,
Cooma, NSW, Oct

Leaves & flowers,
Manilla, NSW, Dec.

Hollow, spotted
stems

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H17

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Hemlock

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Milkweed

Weed Identification

Australia > > Milkweed

Milkweed

Euphorbia heterophylla

Family: Euphorbiaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of tropical and subtropical America.

Flowers/Seedhead: Present for most of the year.

Description: Erect annual herb to 1.5 (rarely to 4) m high. Stems hollow, usually with scattered hairs. Leaves ovate to rhomboid, 0.5–5 cm wide, hairless above, hairless or with a few appressed hairs below, paler toward the base, margins entire or slightly toothed. Capsule 3–4 mm long, 5–6 mm wide, hairless, 3-lobed. Seeds warty, brown or grey, mottled, ovoid, 2.5–3 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by being an erect annual herb; milky sap that oozes from damaged stems and leaves; leaves on stems opposite at lowest 1 or 2 nodes and in fertile region, others alternate, 2–12 cm long, leaf stalk 0.5–4 cm long; uppermost leaves never pink or red at base; flowers male or female in terminal clusters, each flower-head (cyathium) with a solitary terminal female flower surrounded by male flowers enclosed in a cup-shaped involucre with a solitary conspicuous gland; seeds with 3 longitudinal ridges.

Dispersal: Spread by seeds that are released explosively from ripe pods.

Confused With: Other Euphorbia species, see taxonomic texts for detailed distinguishing features.


Leaves around flower clusters are paler
green at base. Atherton, Qld, May

Notes: Widespread weed in the tropics in crops including sugarcane, pineapples, cotton and row crops. Plants grow rapidly and often shade out seedlings of crops. Milkweed has been recorded as toxic to stock.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia.W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 420–422.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Fruit & cup-like glands

E. cyathophora (previously confused with Milkweed)
with pink on upper leaves

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H18

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Milkweed

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - One-Leaf Cape Tulip

Weed Identification

Australia > > One-Leaf Cape Tulip

One-Leaf Cape Tulip

Moraea flaccida

Alternative Name(s): Homeria flaccida

Family: Iridaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of South Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: On branched stems. Flowers with 6 petal-like perianth segments, segments 2.6–4 cm long, not joined to each other; yellow forms have been found in WA. Flowers spring when 2 or 3 years old.

Description: Perennial herb to 70 cm high. Corms 1–4 cm wide, developing new corms each year. Leaf folded, ribbed, linear, to 1 m long, extended and drooping above the flowers. Angular red brown seeds, about 2 mm long, in narrow-cylindrical capsules 2.5–5 cm long, splitting from the apex into 3 parts.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by fibrous-sheathed corm at the base of the plant, orange to salmon pink flowers that are yellow in the centre; single leaves and presence of seed in capsules.

Dispersal: Spread by seed and movement of corms. Often in hay cut from infested paddocks.

Confused With: Two-Leaf Cape Tulip, Moraea miniata, which produces bulbils (small deciduous bulbs) at the leaf nodes, does not produce seed, has 2 or 3 leaves and has a scaly covering around the corm.


Flowers with yellow patch in throat
Inset: Brown seeds in capsule

Notes: Originally introduced as a garden plant in the 1800s. Seeds germinate in autumn and plants regrow from corms at the same time. Poisonous to stock but generally avoided by them. Young stock may be affected if there is no alternative grazing available. One-Leaf Cape Tulip is a serious pasture weed in WA, SA and Vic.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 74–77. Flora of Victoria. N. Walsh and T. Entwisle (eds), Vol. 2, 1994, page 699.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


One-Leaf Cape Tulip capsules

Field, Perth, WA, Sept

New corms form around
old corm

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H19

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > One-Leaf Cape Tulip

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Two-Leaf Cape Tulip

Weed Identification

Australia > > Two-Leaf Cape Tulip

Two-Leaf Cape Tulip

Moraea miniata

Alternative Name(s): Homeria miniata

Family: Iridaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native to South Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: On branched stems. Flowers with 6 petal-like perianth segments, segments 1.3–2.5 cm long, not joined together. Flowers late winter and spring when 2 or 3 years old.

Description: Perennial herb to 60 cm high. Corms 1–2.5 cm wide, developing new corms each year. Leaves folded, ribbed, linear, to 80 cm long. Capsule to 1.5 cm long, splitting from the apex into 3 parts.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by scaly covering around corm at the base of the plant, pink–salmon coloured flowers with a green dotted yellow centre; leaves 2 or 3; seed not produced but plants produce clusters of bulbils in the swollen leaf axils and often small corms (cormils) around the corm.

Dispersal: Spread by movement of corms and bulbils caught in farm machinery and in agricultural produce.

Confused With: One-Leaf Cape Tulip, Moraea flaccida, which produces seed and has a single basal leaf.


Capsules containing seed do not form

Notes: Grows from corms and bulbils in autumn. Poisonous to stock but generally avoided by them. Bulbil production may exceed many thousands per square metre, and bulbils may remain viable in the soil for many years. Less common than One-Leaf Cape Tulip, the 2 species may grow together.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 78–79. Flora of Victoria. N. Walsh and T. Entwisle (eds), Vol. 2, 1994, page 699.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Salmon-coloured flowers form in clusters

Small bulbils form in the leaf axils, October

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H20

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Two-Leaf Cape Tulip

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Scotch Thistle

Weed Identification

Australia > > Scotch Thistle

Scotch Thistle

Onopordum acanthium

Alternative Name(s): Cotton Thistle.

Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of Europe, western and central Asia and Asia Minor.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers: Flowerheads made up of many small flowers (florets); heads 2–6 cm wide including surrounding spiny bracts, heads solitary or in small groups. Flowers late winter to early summer.

Description: Erect biennial thistle to 2 m high. Stems winged, woolly or cobwebby. Leaves woolly hairy to scattered hairy; basal leaves toothed, to 40 cm long and to 25 cm wide, withering in mature plants; stem leaves toothed, smaller with base of leaf extending down stems as wings. Seeds 4-ribbed, ovoid, to 0.5 cm long, grey with darker mottling; topped by minutely barbed bristles to 0.9 cm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by erect branched stems; leaves spiny; flower head bracts ending in an orange spine, largest about 2 mm wide where bent away from heads; all florets tubular, mauve to purple (rarely white).

Dispersal: Spread by seed.


Narrow, sharp spines around flowerhead

Notes: Germinates in autumn; may remain as a rosette over the first summer. Weed of pasture, particularly fertile soils, extending over much of non-arid south eastern Australia. Plants may form dense stands that smother other pasture species and decrease pasture production. Most of the tall Onopordum seen in Australia are hybrids with a full range of genetic intermediates between Scotch Thistle and Illyrian thistle, Onopordum illyricum and with some genes for species not recorded from Australia. Bract width around heads particularly reflects this variation.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 216–218.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Seedlings

Dense growth in paddock,
Orange, NSW, Dec
photo J.J. Dellow

Immature flowerhead & woolly leaves

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H21

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Scotch Thistle

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Kochia

Weed Identification

Australia > > Kochia

Kochia

Bassia scoparia

IMPORTANT: IF YOU SUSPECT THE PRESENCE OF THIS PLANT, PLEASE REPORT IT BY CALLING 1800 084 881 (local call cost anywhere in Australia).


Alternative Name(s): Kochia scoparia

Family: Chenopodiaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of Europe and Asia.

Flowers/Seedhead: Inconspicuous, 2.3–3 mm wide, green, in groups of 2 to 6 in leaf-like bracts, amongst tufts of hairs longer than the flowers. Flowers summer.

Description: Erect annual herb to 1.8 m high. Leaves lanceolate, 2–12 cm long, 0.5–12 mm wide with 1–5 conspicuous veins; margins entire, fringed with hairs. Fruit star-shaped containing a single seed. Seeds oval, 1–2 mm long, brown or black.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by simple to much-branched stems that are often shortly hairy but may be hairless, often red with age; leaves alternate, narrow-lanceolate with upper surface hairless, lower surface usually with dense covering of appressed hairs; flowers on short dense spikes in axils of upper branches or at ends of branches; base of flower surrounded by 5-lobed calyx with horizontal wings that persist around globeshaped fruit.

Dispersal: Spread by seed, particularly by tumbling dead plants.


Habit, Cranbrook, WA, April
photos WA Dept of Agric, J. Dodd

Notes: Introduced to salt affected areas in WA in 1990/91 but spread rapidly to non salt affected areas and roadsides and was considered a threat to cropping. An eradication program began in 1992. Hardy salt tolerant species adapted to arid areas. Useful fodder but contains nitrates. If the plant contains more than 1.5% by dry matter of nitrate it may be toxic. Is an allelopath, i.e. produces substances that suppress plant growth.

References:

    Weeds of Canada and the northern United States. F. Royer and R. Dickinson, 1999, pages 158–159.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Kochia in wind-blown lines
Gairdner Range, WA.

Seeds

Roadside
Cranbrook, WA, April.

Seedling

Flowers & hairy leaves
Taft, California.

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H22

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Kochia

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Bulbil Watsonia

Weed Identification

Australia > > Bulbil Watsonia

Bulbil Watsonia

Watsonia meriana var. bulbillifera

Alternative Name(s): Wild Watsonia.

Family: Iridaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Recently evolved on disturbed land near Cape Town, South Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers: Tubular, orange to dark red, 5–8 cm long, tube approximately twice as long as lobes. Flowers spring and early summer.

Description: Erect perennial herb to 2 m high. Corm covered with fibrous tunic. Leaves basal, swordshaped, tough and fibrous, to about 80 cm long and 5 cm wide. Foliage dries off in late summer.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by clusters of egg-shaped bulbils (small deciduous bulbs on the stem) at lower nodes of flower stem, replacing the flowers.

Dispersal: Spreads by corms and bulbils moved by earth moving equipment and water.

Confused With: Other Watsonia species and varieties (notably the closely related Watsonia meriana var. meriana) and also cornflag Chasmanthe floribunda. All of these never produce bulbils on the stems, but regularly produce capsules and seed.


Curved tubular orange flowers,
Bunbury, WA, October

Notes: Once widely, but now rarely, planted as an ornamental. Major environmental weed of disturbed bushland and roadsides, particularly near water. Serious weed in south western Western Australia, southern South Australia, southern Victoria and coastal New South Wales.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 79–91. Western Weeds. B. Hussey et al., 1997, page 36–37.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Corm with outer fibrous layers & bulbils
on flower stem

Large clump, Bunbury, WA, October

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H23

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Bulbil Watsonia

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Noogoora Burr

Weed Identification

Australia > > Noogoora Burr

Noogoora Burr

Xanthium occidentale

Alternative Name(s): Xanthium pungens, part of Xanthium strumarium.

Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of America.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers: Unisexual, male and female flowers in separate clusters in upper leaf axils and at ends of branches. Flowers mostly summer and autumn.

Description: Annual herb to 2.5 (rarely to 4) m high. Stems rough to touch with short stout upward directed hairs, green and usually blotched or streaked purple. Leaves dark green above, paler below, covered with small bristles and glandular hairs, margins coarsely toothed, with 3 prominent veins, and with veins and leaf stalks often reddish. Brown burrs each contain two brown, grey or black seeds.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by spineless stems; ovate or triangular leaves 5–15 cm long with 3 or 5 lobes, rough to touch; burrs 7–25 mm long, covered with hooked spines and ending in 2 diverging stout straight spines.

Dispersal: Spread by seed in burrs. Burrs are spread attached to animals, clothing and bags. Burrs float and are moved by water.


Leaves 3–5 lobed & coarsely toothed

Notes: Noogoora Burr is often abundant after spring or summer floods. Impedes shearing and is a major cause of vegetable fault in wool. Young plants are more toxic than mature plants; sheep, cattle and pigs are affected; poisoning seldom occurs unless stock are starving. Can cause contact dermatitis in humans and animals. Insects and pathogens, some deliberately introduced, damage Noogoora Burr in Australia.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 313–318. The Biology of Australian Weeds. R. Groves et al. (eds), Vol. 1, 1995, pages 241–302.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Juvenile

5 species of Xanthium

Forms large bushes

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H24

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Noogoora Burr

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Bathurst Burr

Weed Identification

Australia > > Bathurst Burr

Bathurst Burr

Xanthium spinosum

Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of South America.

Flowers/Seedhead: Unisexual, male flowers in terminal spikes, female flowers in leaf axils. Flowers all year, mostly summer and autumn.

Description: Annual herb to 1 m high. Stems downy, spines 0.7–2.5 cm long. Leaves with prominent veins in middle of each lobe. Straw-coloured burrs each contain two brown or black seeds.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by 3-pronged spines at base of leaves and at stem nodes; leaves 3–8 cm long, dark green above, greyish downy below, entire to divided into 3–5 linear segments; burrs 8–15 mm long and covered with hooked spines.

Dispersal: Spread by seed in burrs. Burrs are spread attached to animals, clothing and bags. Burrs float and are moved by water.


Leaves with prominent midvein,
spines 3-pronged

Notes: A major problem in pasture, crops and wasteland. Impedes shearing and is a major cause of vegetable fault in wool. Seedlings are poisonous to livestock, particularly horses and pigs. Can cause contact dermatitis in some humans. A number of insects and pathogens damage Bathurst Burr and biological control agents are being sourced from South America.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 318–321. The Biology of Australian Weeds. R. Groves et al., (eds), Vol. 1, 1995, pages 241–302.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Seedling
photo J.J.Dellow & R.W.Medd

Burrs with hooked spines

Infestation, Balranald, NSW, January

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H25

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Bathurst Burr

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Mistflower

Weed Identification

Australia > > Mistflower

Mistflower

Ageratina riparia

Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of Mexico.

Flowers/Seedhead: In white heads 4 to 6 mm wide in flat-topped showy clusters (corymbs); bracts around heads hairy. Flowers mainly winter and spring.

Description: Spreading, sometimes erect, perennial herb to 1 (rarely to 2) m high. Stems purplish, cylindrical. Leaves green, lanceolate to narrow-ovate, to 13 cm long and to 4 cm wide, single-veined at the base, margins toothed; on stalk to 2 cm long. Seeds 5-angled, black, 1–2 mm long, topped with bristles 3–4 mm long that readily separate from seeds.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by multicellular purple-striped non-glandular hairs on upper stems and leaf stalks; leaves opposite; flat-topped terminal clusters of small white flowers (florets); florets all tubular; seeds with hairs on ribs.

Dispersal: Seed spread by wind and water.


Top: Typical arrangement of flowerheads,
Sydney, NSW
Bottom: Flowering plant, Binnaburra, Qld

Notes: Seedlings develop in late spring to early summer. Plants are shade tolerant and frost sensitive. Has no feed value and may be poisonous to stock. Favours damp areas, stream banks and clearings in rainforest and pasture, north from Nowra to south eastern Queensland. Mistflower has been biologically controlled in Hawaii where the agent that had the most impact appeared to be the fungus Entyloma ageratinae.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 243–245.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Seedlings

Opposite leaves, margins toothed

Flowers profusely in shady areas
photo J.J.Dellow

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H26

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Mistflower

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Hoary Cress

Weed Identification

Australia > > Hoary Cress

Hoary Cress

Cardaria draba

Alternative Name(s): White Weed

Family: Brassicaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of eastern Mediterranean to central and southern Asia.

Flowers/Seedhead: In terminal, often umbrella-like, clusters. Flowers fragrant with sepals to 2.5 mm long, white petals to 4.5 mm long and six stamens. Flowers most of year but mainly spring and summer.

Description: Erect perennial herb to 90 cm high. Stems with longitudinal ribs. Leaves grey-green; basalones ovate to elliptic to 15 cm long, margins entire or toothed, on a stalk; stem leaves ovate to oblong to8 cm long, margins entire to toothed, without a stalk and base stem-clasping. Mature fruit with a network of surface veins, on a stalk 4–15 mm long. Seeds ovoid, to 2.5 mm long, not winged, dark red-brown.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by spreading rhizomatous root system; dense covering of short hairs; heart-shaped fruit with the broadest part towards the base, to 4 (rarely to 5) mm long and generally wider with remains of style at top, almost hairless; fruit not opening at maturity but separating into two 1-seeded sections.

Dispersal: Spreads by buds on spreading roots, movement of root sections and by seed. Regrows from perennial rootstock. Plants may produce up to5000 seeds with high viability although most spread is by movement of pieces of root.


Upper leaves are stem clasping

Notes: Germinates in autumn and winter. In some locations in NSW, Victoria and SA it has been a major weed of many crops, including cereals and vegetables. In Tasmania it is a major weed of roadsides, railway lines and run-down pasture. In WA it is an increasing problem.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 339–341.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Forms dense clumps
photo J.J.Dellow

Horizontal roots
photo J.R.Hosking

4-petalled fragrant flowers & fruit that become heart-shaped
photo J.R.Hosking

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H27

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Hoary Cress

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Saffron Thistle

Weed Identification

Australia > > Saffron Thistle

Saffron Thistle

Carthamus lanatus

Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of southern Europe and Mediterranean to central Asia.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers: In solitary heads to 2 cm wide surrounded by spiny bracts (involucral bracts) to 5 cm long. Heads made up of small flowers (florets) to 3 cm long. Flowers late spring to autumn.

Description: Erect annual thistle to 1 (rarely to 1.5) m high. Stems ribbed, branched above, hairless to downy. Leaves variable; basal leaves in a rosette, lanceolate, initially with few lobes but older leaves more dissected, to 20 cm long and to 5 cm wide; stem leaves to 11 cm long and to 5 cm wide, usually hairless but some plants with hairy leaves, base stem-clasping and not on a leaf stalk. Seeds ovoid, grey-brown.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by stems round in cross-section; leaves lanceolate and similar bracts around flowerheads, deeply toothed with lobes ending in spines; all flowers within heads tubular and yellow; seeds 4–6 mm long, about 3 mm wide, hairless, 4-angled, apex with linear scales to 1 cm long.

Dispersal: Spread by seed. Matures with cereal crops and seed is harvested with the grain. Dry seeds tangle in wool.


Solitary heads with leaf-like rigid spiny
bracts around base

Notes: Hardy weed of cultivation that displaces more useful species in poor pasture. Arguably the most widespread thistle in Australia. Only considered an important weed in Australia. The spines contaminate wool, and make handling contaminated sheep painful. Seldom eaten, but seeds are oil and protein rich

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 194–197. The Biology of Australian Weeds. R. Groves et al., (eds), Vol. 1, 1995, pages 51–66.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Juvenile with first leaves
photo J.J. Dellow

Rosette
photo J.J. Dellow

Mature rigid spiny plants

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H28

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Saffron Thistle

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Skeleton Weed

Weed Identification

Australia > > Skeleton Weed

Skeleton Weed

Chondrilla juncea

Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of Europe, Asia, north-western Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowerheads solitary or 2 or 3 together, 1–2 cm wide, shortly stalked or without a stalk (sessile); consisting of 9–12 small flowers (florets) per head. Flowers summer and autumn.

Description: Perennial herb to 1.2 m high. Plants with deep taproot and creeping roots that may form new plants. Leaves in rosette lobed, usually hairless, 4–20 cm long, 1.5–5 cm wide; narrow-leaf, broadleaf and intermediate-leaf forms are recognised in Australia, primarily based on shape of basal leaves, leaves die early in the flowering period and plants are then virtually leafless over summer.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by skeletal appearance; milky latex from all parts; leaves mainly in basal rosette with fewer no reduced leaves on flowering stems; all florets yellow and strap-like; bracts around flowerheads in 2rows, outer bracts minute; seeds brown, ribbed, cylindrical, 8–10 mm long including hair-like beak 5–6mm long, that is surrounded at the base by 5 or 6 spreading scales; apex of hair-like beak with a row of white bristles 6–7 mm long.

Dispersal: Spreads by seed, pieces and new rosettes from lateral roots.


Flowerheads along stem
photos J.J.Dellow & R.W. Medd

Notes: A serious invader of pastures and crop land. Chokes headers. Spread enhanced by continual cropping. Drought resistant and can provide useful grazing. Chondrilla Rust Fungus, Puccinia chondrillae, has successfully controlled the narrow-leaved form of Skeleton Weed. The eradication program for Skeleton Weed in WA has limited its spread.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 264–270. The Biology of Australian Weeds. R. Groves et al., (eds), Vol. 1, 1995, pages 67–86.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Narrow-leaf              Intermediate-leaf              Broad-leaf

Fallow land with skeleton weed
Binya, NSW, Dec

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H29

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Skeleton Weed

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Witchweed

Weed Identification

Australia > > Witchweed

Witchweed

Striga asiatica

IMPORTANT: IF YOU SUSPECT THE PRESENCE OF THIS PLANT, PLEASE REPORT IT BY CALLING 1800 084 881 (local call cost anywhere in Australia).


Alternative Name(s): Striga lutea.

Family: Scrophulariaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of tropical and subtropical Africa and Asia.

Flowers/Seedhead: Inflorescence a terminal spike 10–15 cm long. Flowers summer and autumn.

Description: Annual herb to 30 (rarely to 50) cm high. Underground stems round. Leaves linear to lanceolate, green, 6–40 mm long, to 4 mm wide, rough to touch. Fruit a capsule about 4 mm long and 2 mm wide, containing 550 seeds on average. Seeds dust-like, 0.2–0.3 mm long, brown, ribbed.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by bell-like swellings where roots attach to a suitable host; above ground stems 4-sided and covered with rough hairs; joined sepals (calyx) 5–8 mm long, rough to touch on ribs and teeth, one calyx rib terminates at the tip of each lobe (others terminate between the lobes), flowers red, pink, white, yellow, orange or purple depending on region of origin, solitary in leaf axils, joined petals (corolla) in a tube to 12 mm long and tube 5-lobed at apex.

Dispersal: Seeds dispersed by wind, water, soil movement and attached to animals, machinery, tools, footwear and clothing.


Mature plant with roots parasitizing maize
photo D. L. Nickrent

Inset: Seeds minute, c. 0.2 mm long
photo L. Musselman

Notes: Only germinates when close to a suitable host. Seeds may survive for 20 years. Serious weed of cereal crops that may cause complete crop loss. Once plants develop chlorophyll they photosynthesize, although significant damage to crops may occur before witchweed emerges. Often causes stunting, chlorosis and wilting of host plants.

References:

    Worlds Worst Weeds. Holm et al. 1977, pages 456–464. Northern Australia quarantine strategy weeds target list. B.Waterhouse and A. Mitchell. 1998, AQIS Miscellaneous Publication 6/98, pages 97–98.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Leaves linear to about 4 cm long,
California, USA
photo D. L. Nickrent

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H30

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Witchweed

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Horsetail (common)

Weed Identification

Australia > > Horsetail (common)

Horsetail (common)

Equisetum arvense

THIS PLANT IS ON THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL ALERT LIST
http://www.weeds.gov.au/weeds/lists/alert.html

Alternative Name(s): Field Horsetail, Scouring Rush.

Family: Equisetaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of Africa, Europe, Asia and North America.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers: Cone-shaped structure (strobilus) comprised of shield-shaped spore-bearing scales; spores yellowish, round. Spores produced in spring to early summer.

Description: Perennial fern ally with erect or sprawling stems to 60 cm high. Vegetative stems branched, green, grooved, main stems 1–5 mm wide, lateral branches in whorls of 4–18 produced at joints; main stem arising from extensive and hairy rhizomes that penetrate soil to more than 1 metre. Fertile stems to 25 cm high, unbranched, to 8 mm wide, with a sheath to 20 mm long above each joint, stems terminate in a cone-shaped strobilus.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by hollow, grooved, jointed stems, scale-like leaves at the joints, and fertile stems terminating in a cone-shaped strobilus 1–4 cm long.

Dispersal: Spreads by spores, rhizomes, root pieces, and possibly tubers.


Left, spore producing cone.
Centre, vegetative stem.
Right, fertile stem, Sept

Notes: A garden escape that is extremely difficult to control, especially in rocky soils. In Sydney it dies back in winter. Has potential to be a serious weed in Australia. A weed of crops, orchards and pastures overseas. Plants have a high silicon content and have been used for scouring pots and pans, hence the common name, Scouring Rush. Poisonous to livestock; contains equisetine, a toxic alkaloid that causes equisetosis.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 14–17. The World's Worst Weeds. Holm et al., 1977, pages 262–268.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Wiry roots

Green clumps, Frenchs Forest, NSW, Dec

Lateral whorls of branches
off main vegetative stem

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H31.
More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

It has also been included in the 'Jumping the Garden Fence' report (WWF-Australia PDF - 1.19mb) which examines the impact of invasive garden plants on Australian agricultural land and natural ecosystems.

 

Australia > > Horsetail (common)

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Narrow-Leaf Cotton Bush

Weed Identification

Australia > > Narrow-Leaf Cotton Bush

Narrow-Leaf Cotton Bush

Gomphocarpus fruticosus

Alternative Name(s): Swan Plant

Family: Asclepiadaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of Africa, Arabia and Mediterranean.

Flowers/Seedhead: Inflorescence a drooping umbel of flowers. Flowers all year round.

Description: Erect perennial shrub to 2 m high. Stems densely covered with apressed short weak soft hairs when young, becoming hairless with age. Leaves 4–12.5 cm long, 0.5–1.5 cm wide, upper and lower surfaces with scattered hairs; on leaf stalk to 1 cm long. Fruit a green pod initially, turning brown with age, covered with soft spines to 1 cm long, splitting to release seeds; pod with inner wall separated from outer wall by an air space and seeds within inner chamber; pod stalk S-shaped. Seeds numerous, ovoid, flat, about 0.6 cm long and ending in a tuft of white silky hairs about 3 cm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by shrub habit; milky latex; lanceolate opposite leaves; flowers white to cream; fruit a thin walled inflated ovoid pod, 4–7 cm long, 1.5–3 cm wide, ending in a tapering point.

Dispersal: Spreads by seeds and lateral roots.

Confused With: Balloon Cotton Bush, Gomphocarpus physocarpus, that has ball-shaped pods without a tapering point and Broad-Leaf Cotton Bush, Gomphocarpus cancellatus, that has inner surface of pods without spines.


Inflated fruit with long soft bristles, white
flowers, caterpillar of Wanderer Butterfly
photo I.Walker

Notes: Poisonous to stock, but seldom eaten. Hybridises with Balloon Cotton Bush with hybrids intermediate in appearance. Cotton Bush is a preferred food for caterpillars of the Wanderer Butterfly, Danaus plexippus, but they do not control the plant.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 179–182.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Wanderer Butterfly
Danaus plexippus

Pods & seeds with silky hairs

Linear leaves & inflated pod

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H32

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Narrow-Leaf Cotton Bush

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Praxelis

Weed Identification

Australia > > Praxelis

Praxelis

Praxelis clematidea

THIS PLANT IS ON THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL ALERT LIST
http://www.weeds.gov.au/weeds/lists/alert.html

Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of northern Argentina, southern Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowerheads of several to many heads in flat-topped clusters, each head 0.7–1.0 cm long.

Description: Erect perennial herb to 1 m high. Plant covered with coarse segmented hairs. Leaves opposite, ovate to rhomboid with a pointed tip, 2.5–6 cm long and 1–4 cm wide, gland-dotted and hairy on both surfaces especially below, margins toothed; leaf stalk 0.3–2 cm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by pungent aroma; up to 20 unequal bracts around base of flowerheads; 25–50 lilac or bluish small flowers (florets) on a highly conical area of attachment (receptacle) with non-persistent bracts; seeds 2–3 mm long, black, crowned with bristles about 4 mm long.

Dispersal: Spread by seed, particularly by vehicles, wind and as a contaminant of produce and landscaping materials.

Confused With: Ageratum conyzoides (note persistent and differently shaped bracts in photos on front of card), Ageratum houstonianum and Chromolaena odorata.


Gland dotted toothed leaves Kuranda, Qld, Aug.

Notes: A common weed of roadsides and a problem in sugar cane and pastures in northern Queensland. First recorded from Australia in November 1993. Also known from Hong Kong, Macao and southern China.

References:

    Gardens' Bulletin Singapore. J. Veldkamp, Vol. 51, pages 119–124.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


A. conyzoides with persistent bracts.
P. clematidea receptacle.

Black seeds
with bristles.

P. clematidea with unequal bracts & pappus.

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H33

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Praxelis

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Chinese Violet (a form of)

Weed Identification

Australia > > Chinese Violet (a form of)

Chinese Violet (a form of)

Asystasia gangetica ssp. micrantha

THIS PLANT IS ON THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL ALERT LIST
http://www.weeds.gov.au/weeds/lists/alert.html

THIS PLANT IS LISTED BY D.A.F.F. AS 1 OF 17 CANDIDATE SLEEPER WEEDS

IMPORTANT: IF YOU SUSPECT THE PRESENCE OF THIS PLANT, PLEASE REPORT IT BY CALLING 1800 084 881 (local call cost anywhere in Australia).


Family: Acanthaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of the African tropics and subtropics, India and Sri Lanka but original native range obscure.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers: Flowers all year round.

Description: Perennial mat-forming creeper to 3 m high on supporting vegetation but usually less than 0.5 m high. Tailing stems root at nodes. Leaves to 8 (rarely to 17) cm long and to 4 (rarely to 5.5) cm wide. Fruit green but dries to brown after opening, containing a conspicuous hook about 3 mm long at base of each seed. Seeds hairless, bone-coloured to brownish black, about 5 mm long and 1 mm thick.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by opposite leaves; flowers in terminal racemes, each flower to 2.5 cm long, white outside and inside except for middle lobe of lowest lip which has purple blotches in two parallel lines down raised ridges on the inside; fruit to 3.6 cm long, guitar-shaped (with neck of guitar attached to stem) and containing 4 flattened seeds.

Dispersal: By explosive release of seed and locally by trailing stems.

Confused With: Asystasia gangetica ssp. gangetica, referred to as Chinese Violet, has larger (3–4 cm long) blue or mauve flowers.


Guitar-shaped fruit, flower,
opposite leaves

Notes: Garden escape. Capable of smothering other ground plants. Known from Anna Bay and Boat Harbour area near Nelson Bay in NSW. Both forms of Chinese Violet are considered to be weedy in Malaysia but ssp. micrantha is more of a problem, particularly in oil palm estates. Subspecies gangetica is naturalised in Queensland and the NT.

References:

    Plant Protection Quarterly. S. Ismail and A. Shukor, 1998, Vol. 13, pages 140–142.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Dense stand at Boat Harbour, NSW

Root system

Flat seeds & pods
with hooks inside

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H34

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Chinese Violet (a form of)

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Orange Hawkweed

Weed Identification

Australia > > Orange Hawkweed

Orange Hawkweed

Hieracium aurantiacum

THIS PLANT IS ON THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL ALERT LIST
http://www.weeds.gov.au/weeds/lists/alert.html

THIS PLANT IS LISTED BY D.A.F.F. AS 1 OF 17 CANDIDATE SLEEPER WEEDS

IMPORTANT: IF YOU SUSPECT THE PRESENCE OF THIS PLANT, PLEASE REPORT IT BY CALLING 1800 084 881 (local call cost anywhere in Australia).


Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of Europe.

Flowers/Seedhead: Heads orange. Flowers summer to autumn.

Description: Perennial herb with flower stems to 15 (rarely to 40) cm high. Leaves mostly basal and without a basal stalk (petiole), narrow-elliptic to broader above the middle, to 15 cm long, both surfaces with coarse stiff long hairs and sometimes star-shaped hairs (difficult to see without a microscope) on lower surface. Flowerheads on stalk with long spreading hairs, short whitish star-shaped hairs and black stalked glandular hairs; bracts around heads (involucral bracts) to 10 mm long, with long simple, numerous star-shaped and few to numerous glandular hairs.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by stolons with numerous long simple hairs; leaves with margins entire to obscurely toothed; flowerheads 3–15 in dense clusters on a stalk with 0–4 leaves; all small flowers (florets) strap-like and 5-toothed at tip, orange (purple when dry); seeds cylindrical, ribbed, about 2 mm long and 0.5 mm wide, with a flattened apex, ribs ending at the apex in minute points, topped by brown bristles (pappus) to 6mm long in one row.

Dispersal: Spread by seed and stolons.


Orange petal-like florets in a head on a
hairy stalk, Falls Creek, Vic, Dec
photo J.R.Hosking

Notes: First recorded as naturalised in Tasmania where now occurring alongside some roads. Orange Hawkweed has also naturalised around Falls Creek, Mt Hotham and Mt Buller in Victoria.

References:

    Flora of New Zealand. C. Webb et al., 1988, Vol. 4, pages324–328.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Hairy leaves & stems
photo J.R.Hosking

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H35

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Orange Hawkweed

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Mouse-Ear Hawkweed

Weed Identification

Australia > > Mouse-Ear Hawkweed

Mouse-Ear Hawkweed

Hieracium pilosella

IMPORTANT: IF YOU SUSPECT THE PRESENCE OF THIS PLANT, PLEASE REPORT IT BY CALLING 1800 084 881 (local call cost anywhere in Australia).


Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of Europe and Asia.

Flowers/Seedhead: Heads yellow. Flowerhead on stalk with none to a few simple non-glandular hairs, a dense covering of star-shaped hairs and numerous short glandular hairs. Bracts around the base of flowerheads to 13 mm long, with varying numbers of simple and glandular hairs and a dense covering of star-shaped hairs. Flowers mostly spring to summer but some flowers present to the end of autumn.

Description: Perennial herb with flower stems to 40 cm high. Leaves basal or on stolons, broader above the middle, to 10 cm long, upper surface with scattered long coarse simple hairs, lower surface with fine non-glandular hairs and dense covering of star-shaped hairs.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by stolons with long simple hairs and dense covering of short star-shaped hairs; leaves with margins entire to obscurely toothed; flowerheads solitary at the end of each leafless stalk; all small flowers (florets) strap-like, deeply 5-toothed, yellow, often with a red stripe on the outer face; seeds cylindrical, ribbed, about 2 mm long and about 0.5 mm wide, with a flattened apex, ribs ending at the apex in minute points, top of seed with pale brown bristles to 6 mm long in one row.

Dispersal: Spread by seed and stolons.


Leaves with long scattered hairs above
& densely hairy below
photo J.R.Hosking

Notes: First recorded as naturalised in Tasmania in 2001. This species has significantly decreased carrying capacity in large areas of the MacKenzie Country on the South Island of New Zealand. A biological control program has commenced for control of this species in New Zealand.

References:

    Flora of New Zealand. C. Webb et al., 1988, Vol. 4, pages324–330.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Forms dense low mats MacKenzie Country, NZ
photo J.R.Hosking

Red stripe on outer face of florets
photo J.R.Hosking

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H36

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Mouse-Ear Hawkweed

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Holly-Leaved Senecio

Weed Identification

Australia > > Holly-Leaved Senecio

Holly-Leaved Senecio

Senecio glastifolius

THIS PLANT IS ON THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL ALERT LIST
http://www.weeds.gov.au/weeds/lists/alert.html

Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of South Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Often in dense flat-topped clusters. Flowers mostly spring.

Description: Erect perennial (less often annual) herb to 1.5 (rarely to 2) m high. Stems branch anywhere from base to higher parts on older plants. Leaves ovate to elliptic in outline, 3–15 cm long, unequally and variably toothed, hairless; leaf base extending down stem. Seeds topped by hairs (pappus) 7–9 mm long, that do not remain attached.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by holly-like leaves; flowerheads with 12–22 petal-like purple or pink flowers (florets) 12–25 mm long, central florets yellow, bracts around flowerheads (involucral bracts) 19–23 in one row; seeds about 2.5 mm long.

Dispersal: Spread by seed.

Confused With: Senecio elegans but that species has 12–15 involucral bracts.


Outer florets pale purple, inner florets
yellow & pappus
Bundeena, NSW, Oct.

Notes: Found on sandy soils. Potentially serious environmental weed, now spreading in woodlands near Albany, Western Australia and at Bundeena, New South Wales. This species is also a major environmental weed in New Zealand and a weed in its native range in South Africa.

References:

    Flora of New Zealand. C.Webb et al., 1988, Vol. 4, page 273.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Toothed leaves.

Seedling

Fibrous roots.

Flowering Bundeena, NSW, Oct.

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H37.
More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

It has also been included in the 'Jumping the Garden Fence' report (WWF-Australia PDF - 1.19mb) which examines the impact of invasive garden plants on Australian agricultural land and natural ecosystems.

 

Australia > > Holly-Leaved Senecio

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Devil's Claw

Weed Identification

Australia > > Devil's Claw

Devil's Claw

Martynia annua

Alternative Name(s): Small-Fruited Devil's Claw, Tiger's Claw.

Family: Martyniaceae which is sometimes included in the Pedaliaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of Mexico to Nicaragua and to the Caribbean Islands.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers: Flowers in several flowered racemes. Flowers summer and autumn.

Description: Bushy annual herb to 2 m high. Leaves kidney-shaped to circular, mostly 6–15 cm wide, both surfaces equally hairy, margins with shallow lobes; leaf stalk 9–14 cm long. Pod green and fleshy at first, drying to a black woody capsule. Seeds brown to black, 2 to each pod.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by leaves and stems covered with sticky glandular hairs; leaves pumpkin-like; flowers tubular, 4–6 cm long, predominantly white to pink with 5 spreading lobes at the apex, each lobe with a prominent purple spot, throat with red and yellow spots, fertile stamens 2; pod to 4 cm long and to 1.5 cm wide, with recurved claws about 1 cm long.

Dispersal: Spread by seeds that remain in the pod and are transported when the hooked fruits catch on Passinq objects.

Confused With: Proboscidea and Ibicella species also naturalised in Australia, but these species have larger claws on the fruit.


Leafy annual herb with clusters
of flowers
photo C. Wilson

Notes: Garden escape. Grows mainly in isolated patches on roadsides and near stockyards or habitation. Not palatable to stock.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 515–517. Weeds of Natural Ecosystems. N. Smith, 1995, page 45

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Tubular mauve flowers
with 5 lobes
photo C. Wilson

Hooked fruit
photo C. Wilson

Immature fruit
photo C. Wilson

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H38

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Devil's Claw

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Fringed Spider Flower

Weed Identification

Australia > > Fringed Spider Flower

Fringed Spider Flower

Cleome rutidosperma

IMPORTANT: IF YOU SUSPECT THE PRESENCE OF THIS PLANT, PLEASE REPORT IT BY CALLING 1800 084 881 (local call cost anywhere in Australia).


Alternative Name(s): Spider Weed.

Family: Capparidaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of tropical Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers: Flowers with 4 hairy sepals to 4 mm long; stamens 6. Flowers most of year.

Description: Herb to 1 m high. Stems angular, with scattered soft bristles. Leaves with 3 ovate to spearshaped (lanceolate) leaflets, 2–5 cm long, 0.5–2.5 cm wide, margins with short bristles; leaf stalk to 5 cm long. Capsule cylindrical 5–7 cm long, to 5 mm wide, on stalks to 1 cm long. Seeds brown to black, about 2 mm wide.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by leaves consisting of 3 leaflets; flowers solitary in the leaf axils with petals on upper side; petals 4, 9–12 mm long (including section before the bend that is 2–3 mm long), crimson turning pink with age; seeds kidney-shaped with cross ribs and a white appendage (elaiosome).

Dispersal: Spread by seed, by water, in farm machinery, farm produce and often by ants.

Confused With: Other Cleome species but the seeds and flower colour are characteristic (see above).


Leaves, flowers & fruit, Malaysia, August

Notes: A weed of crops in south-eastern Asia and the Caribbean. Also an environmental weed. Naturalised from Vietnam to the Philippines and Indonesia, also Central America and the Caribbean Islands. First recorded in Darwin in August 2000.

References:

    Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy Weeds Target List. B. Waterhouse and A. Mitchell. 1998, AQIS Miscellaneous Publication 6/98, pages 29–30.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Green ribbed seeds in pod, Malaysia
photo A. Mitchell

Garden at
Parap, NT
photo A. Mitchell

Garden at Parap, NT
photo A. Mitchell

Black & brown
seeds with pod
photo A. Mitchell

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H39

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Fringed Spider Flower

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Perennial Thistle

Weed Identification

Australia > > Perennial Thistle

Perennial Thistle

Cirsium arvense

Alternative Name(s): Californian Thistle, Canada Thistle, Creeping Thistle

Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of Europe, northern Africa and Asia.

Flowers/Seedhead: Many small flowers (florets) in heads 1.5–2.5 cm long; petals 12–18 mm long; female flowers scented. Flowers summer and autumn.

Description: Erect perennial thistle to 1 (rarely to 1.5) m high. Stems ridged, smooth, hairless to slightly hairy. Leaves lanceolate in outline, upper surface dark green and variably hairy, lower surface white woolly to hairless; basal leaves in a rosette, leaves to 15 cm long and to 4 cm wide, margins wavy to toothed, narrowing to the base; stem leaves to 7 cm long, lobed, not on a stalk and base continuing down stems for a short distance. Seeds light brown to olive, smooth, finely longitudinally grooved.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by creeping roots; spiny leaves; flowerheads 0.7–2.0 cm wide in panicles; florets all tubular, mauve, arising from a receptacle with bristle-like scales, male and female flowers on separate plants; bracts around heads soft, tips gradually pointed to short spined; seeds 2.5–4 mm long, compressed, topped by bristles 20–25 mm long.

Dispersal: Spreads by seed and creeping roots.


Ridged stems with flowerheads
& seedheads

Notes: Grows in cooler months, dying back in autumn to re-shoot from root buds. Forms large colonies with dense growth crowding out desirable plants. Weed of pastures, crops, roadsides and wasteland in higher rainfall areas, particularly in Victoria and Tasmania.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 204–208. Flora of Victoria. N. Walsh and T. Entwisle (eds), Vol. 4, 1999, pages 672–673.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Seeds
Seedling
photo J.J.Dellow

Flowerheads & spiny undulate leaves

Dense stand in pasture, NZ
photo J.R.Hosking

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H40

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Perennial Thistle

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Nodding Thistle

Weed Identification

Australia > > Nodding Thistle

Nodding Thistle

Carduus nutans

Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of Europe, Asia and North Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: In solitary heads at ends of branches; heads made up of many small flowers (florets) to 24 mm long. Flowers mostly spring to autumn.

Description: Erect, mostly biennial, thistle with flowering stems to 1.7 (rarely to 2.5) m high. Leaves variable, basal leaves in a rosette, green and often with white mid veins, to 50 cm long, to 10 cm wide, earliest leaves not deeply lobed, later leaves and stem leaves deeply dissected, leaf bases forming wings down the stem. Seeds ovoid, grey to brown, slightly curved, longitudinally lined.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by spiny winged stems (except just below flower heads) and spiny leaves; leaves sparsely hairy above and below; spine-tipped bracts surrounding heads, outer bracts reflexed; mature heads 4–8 cm wide (including bracts) and nodding; all florets tubular, pink to bright purple (rarely white), arising from a hairy receptacle; seeds 3–4.5 mm long, hairless, topped by numerous simple white bristles (pappus) 15–22 mm long.

Dispersal: Spread by seed.


Spiny bracts around heads that nod
when mature

Notes: First recorded in Australia in 1950. Probably introduced as a seed contaminant from New Zealand. Major pasture weed, especially in NSW tableland regions. Unpalatable to stock. Spines reduce pasture accessibility. Thistle exudates restrict growth of nearby pasture. Insects have been introduced for biological control of Nodding Thistle.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 186–189. The Biology of Australian Weeds. R. Groves et al. (eds), Vol. 1, 1995, pages 29–49.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Rosette

Top: Seedlings
photo J.J.Dellow
Bottom: Seeds & pappus

Infested pasture, Barrington Tops, NSW, Feb
photo J.R.Hosking

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H41

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Nodding Thistle

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Silverleaf Nightshade

Weed Identification

Australia > > Silverleaf Nightshade

Silverleaf Nightshade

Solanum elaeagnifolium

THIS PLANT HAS BEEN DECLARED A WEED OF NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE

Family: Solanaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Probably originating in south-western USA and northern Mexico.

Flowers/Seedhead: Present from mid spring to early autumn.

Description: Erect silvery perennial herb to 50 (rarely to 100) cm high. Leaves mostly 2.5–10 cm long,1–3 cm wide, lanceolate to oblong, margins undulate, lower surface with more hairs than upper surface; leaf stalk 0.5–2 cm long. Seeds rounded, flattened, light brown with irregular surface, 2.5–4 mm wide.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by rhizomatous roots; sparse reddish to yellow prickles, 2–5 mm long, on lower stems and often on leaf stalks and lower leaf surface veins; star-shaped hairs on many parts; purple to mauve flowers (rarely pink or white) with 5 lobes, flowers 20–30 mm wide in groups of 1–4, anthers 6–8 mm long; berries globe-shaped, mottled green at first, ripening yellowish, 8–15 mm wide.

Dispersal: Spread by seed, laterally by roots and by root sections.

Confused With: Other Solanum species, see taxonomic texts for detailed distinguishing features.


Immature fruit with dark markings

Notes: Major weed of many crops in Argentina, Australia, Greece, India, Israel, Morocco, South Africa, Spain and the USA. Silverleaf Nightshade was introduced to Australia in the early 1900s, its spread accelerated in the1960s. Silverleaf Nightshade competes vigorously with annual crops and pasture. Cultivation breaks up roots and spreads the plant. All parts of the plant, but particularly the fruit, are reportedly toxic to stock.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 609–612. Plant Protection Quarterly. J. Heap and R. Carter, 1999, Vol. 14, pages 2–12.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Mature fruit & prickles on stems
photo J.J.Dellow

Seeds
Seedling
photos J.J.Dellow

Leaves have wavy margins, Wellington, NSW
photo J.J.Dellow

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H42

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Silverleaf Nightshade

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Crow Garlic

Weed Identification

Australia > > Crow Garlic

Crow Garlic

Allium vineale

Alternative Name(s): Field Garlic, Wild Garlic.

Family: Alliaceae (often included in Liliaceae).

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of eastern Mediterranean countries.

Flowers/Seedhead: In terminal head. Flowers green, white to pink; seldom seen. Flowers summer but mostly the flowerhead is composed of vegetative small bulbs (bulbils).

Description: Erect herb to 1 m high. Bulbs 2.5 cm wide and to 3 cm long with a white membranous tunic, producing smaller bulbs of two types, white soft-shelled tear-drop shaped bulbs, 8–17 mm long and light brownish hard-shelled bulbs distinctly flattened on one side, 8–17 mm long. Leaves grooved on upper surface and to 60 cm long. Seeds black, not common.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by garlic smell when crushed; small bulbs around main bulb; cylindrical stems; hollow, almost cylindrical, leaves; flowers mostly replaced by bulbils.

Dispersal: Mainly reproduces by bulbs and aerial bulbils in the inflorescence; hardshell bulbs may remain dormant for years.


Right: bulbils in terminal clusters
Left: white bulb that forms below ground
Dalgety, NSW

Notes: Autumn and spring germinating perennial. Seedlings grass-like. Serious winter growing weed of cereals and pastures in temperate Australia. It may contaminate milk, meat and grain with an onion odour. Clusters of bulbils shatter readily into individual bulbils and cannot be separated from cereal grain because of their size and shape.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia.W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 87–89. Flora of Victoria. N.Walsh and T. Entwisle, (eds), Vol. 2, 1994, page 674.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Developing bulbils
are enclosed in
a sheath

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H43

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Crow Garlic

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Perennial Ragweed

Weed Identification

Australia > > Perennial Ragweed

Perennial Ragweed

Ambrosia psilostachya

Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of North America.

Flowers/Seedhead: Male flower spikes to 15 cm long. Male flowers cream to greenish-yellow, several per head. Female flowers 1 per head, inconspicuous. Flowers summer and early autumn.

Description: Perennial herb to 1.5 m high. Stems hairy. Leaves opposite below and alternate above, grey-green, both surfaces hairy; ovate to lanceolate in outline; lower leaves 5–12 cm long, 2–4 cm wide almost without a stalk. Seeds 3–4 mm long with an obvious beak.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by perennial creeping roots sending up shoots to form large colonies; lower leaves pinnately divided with glandular hairs; male flowers in drooping cone-shaped clusters in spikes above female flowers in leaf axils; seeds hairy with a ring of 4–5 short blunt spines.

Dispersal: Spread by seed attached to animals or in mud, and by creeping roots.

Confused With: Other Ambrosia species, see taxonomic texts for distinguishing features. May also be confused with Chinese Wormwood, Artemisia verlotiorum, but Artemisia species have heads that contain clusters of flowers of both sexes.


Deeply divided leaves & flowerheads
Inset: seed

Notes: Forms dense colonies. A weed of crops and pasture. Plants not eaten by stock. Major cause of allergy with pollen causing flu-like symptoms; plant contact often causes skin allergies. Epiblema strenuana, a stem-galling moth introduced for control of Parthenium Weed, Parthenium hysterophorus, reduces Perennial Ragweed populations in warmer areas.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 250–253. Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 3, 1992, page 268.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Creeping roots

Stem-galling moth in
ragweed stem

Spikes of
male flowers

Erect stand at
Wellington, NSW
photo J.J.Dellow

Forms clumps,
Lithgow, NSW

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H44

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Perennial Ragweed

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Black Knapweed

Weed Identification

Australia > > Black Knapweed

Black Knapweed

Centaurea nigra

Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of Europe.

Flowers/Seedhead: Many small flowers (florets) in solitary heads at ends of branches. Flowers spring to autumn.

Description: Perennial erect herb to 0.9 (rarely to 1.2) m high. Stems ribbed, cobwebby, sometimes hairless with age. Basal leaves entire to lobed, 6–30 cm long, 0.5–3.5 cm wide, narrowed at base, withering in mature plants; lower stem leaves entire to toothed 1–8 cm long, 0.2–1 cm wide; upper leaves smaller, entire to sparsely toothed, oblong to lanceolate. Seeds flattened, 3–4 mm long, sparsely short hairy, pale brown, topped by a few bristles to 1 mm long or without bristles.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by presence of rhizomes; erect habit; leaves not spiny; flowerheads mostly 12–18 mm wide; middle bracts with a narrow waist between base and fringed upper section, fringe hairy, dark brown top blackish; all florets tubular, pink to purple (rarely white), arising from a hairy receptacle, outer petal-like florets with forked tips.

Dispersal: Spread by seed, rhizomes and root pieces.


Note fringed apex of bracts around
flowerhead

Notes: Seeds germinate in cooler months, plants maturing in summer and dying back in autumn. Probably introduced as an ornamental in early 1900s.Mainly invades overgrazed and poor pastures. Plants not eaten by stock. Reduces carrying capacity of pasture. There is some overseas evidence that Black Knapweed reduces growth of nearby plants.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 262–264. Flora of Victoria. N. Walsh and T. Entwisle (eds), Vol 4, page 681.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Seeds with short or no bristles
photo J.J.Dellow

Seedlings
photo J.J.Dellow

Early rosette
photo J.J.Dellow

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H45

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Black Knapweed

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Alkali Sida

Weed Identification

Australia > > Alkali Sida

Alkali Sida

Malvella leprosa

Alternative Name(s): Sida leprosa, Malva leprosa, Sida hederacea, Ivy-Leaf Sida

Family: Malvaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of western North America.

Flowers/Seedhead: Sepals joined at base and 5–10 mm long; petals 10–15 mm long, yellow to cream. Flowers summer and autumn.

Description: Low growing olive-green perennial herb to 30 cm high. Stems to 50 cm long. Leaves 1–3cm long, 1–4.5 cm wide, lower surface paler, margins irregularly toothed; on stalk shorter or longer than leaf blade. Fruit with 6–10 fruitlets (mericarps) each containing one seed. Fruitlets about 2 mm wide, dark brown, roughened.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by stems and leaves with small star-shaped hairs; leaves kidney-shaped with asymmetric base, 1–3 cm long; whorl of 3 bracts, 3–4 mm long attached to the jointed sepals below the flowers; petals have star-shaped hairs on the back (in Australia); fruit 5–6 mm wide, fruitlets with rounded apex.

Dispersal: Spreads by seeds and root fragments.


Toothed leaves with star-shaped hairs
& pale yellow flowers

Notes: Above ground growth dies in autumn and new shoots grow from the root system in spring. Infests annual crops and pastures, neglected land, and ditch banks in irrigation areas. Not readily grazed. A crop weed in California, especially on saline or alkaline soils. Has potential to expand in Australia.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 506–508. Flora of Victoria. N. Walsh and T. Entwisle (eds), 1996, Vol. 3, page 346.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Plants & roots

Crop weed in California, USA

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H46

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Alkali Sida

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Yellow Burweed

Weed Identification

Australia > > Yellow Burweed

Yellow Burweed

Amsinckia species

Alternative Name(s): Amsinckia, Fiddleneck.

Family: Boraginaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: North and South America.

Flowers/Seedhead: Surrounded by bristly sepals that are 2–5 mm long, linear-lanceolate and united at the base only. Flower tube 5–10 mm long. Flowers spring.

Description: Annual herb to 1 m high. Stems vary from hairless, to hairy with stiff hairs only, to hairy with stiff hairs and minute hairs. Leaves lanceolate, covered with bristly hairs; basal leaves in a rosette, to 20 cm long, with a short stalk; stem leaves reducing in size towards flowerhead and stem clasping. Nutlets with wart-like projections or wrinkled, 2–3.5 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by Y-shaped cotyledons; yellow flowers in caterpillar-like spikes; trumpet-shaped flowers hairless or with 5 hairy projections closing the throat, evenly lobed at the end of the flower tube, anthers not projecting from the tube and on short filaments; fruit consisting of 4 hard brown to black nutlets (each nutlet contains one seed).

Dispersal: Spread by nutlets, mostly while within the bristly sepals.


Leaves & stem covered with stiff hairs

Notes: Widespread weed of cultivation and disturbed land, particularly in sandy soils. Plants flower sequentially, producing fruit over a long period, usually dying by early summer. Introduced to Australia in the mid 1800s; probably transported from North America in hay.Yellow Burweed is difficult to separate into individual species, there is inconsistent variation in flower length, colour, constriction in throat of flower and position of anthers.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia.W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 322–325.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Flowers with fused petals
on a caterpillar-like spike

Seedling
photo J. J. Dellow

Juvenile
photo J. J. Dellow

Rosette
photo J. J. Dellow

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H47

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Yellow Burweed

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Creeping Knapweed

Weed Identification

Australia > > Creeping Knapweed

Creeping Knapweed

Acroptilon repens

Alternative Name(s): Centaurea repens, Russian Knapweed, Hardhead Thistle

Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native from eastern Europe to Mongolia.

Flowers/Seedhead: Small flowers (florets) in heads that are solitary at the end of branches. Heads 5–9 mm wide across area surrounded by bracts. Florets 1–1.5 cm long. Flowers spring to autumn.

Description: Perennial erect thistle to 1 m high. Older roots scaly and black. Stems slender, branched and densely covered with short soft hairs that are less frequent on older stems. Leaves variable, basal leaves lobed, to 15 cm long and to 5 cm wide, withering in mature plants; stem leaves alternate, softly hairy, silvery green when young, grey green when older, oblong to elliptic, 1–5 cm long, 0.2–1 cm wide, margin entire or toothed; upper leaves smaller, usually entire. Seeds ovoid, to 4 mm long, whitish, striped lengthwise and crowned by stiff, unequal, minutely barbed hairs, to 8 mm long, easily detached.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by extensive woody rhizomes; plants not spiny; bracts around heads overlapping and in several rows, bracts green with pale yellow membranous hairy tips; florets tubular, deeply 5-lobed, mauve to pink, arising from a hairy receptacle.

Dispersal: Spread by seed and rhizomes.


Florets deeply 5-lobed.
Upper leaves alternate and not toothed

Notes: Winter dormant. Seedlings form rosettes in spring, develop a deep root system, and flower the following summer. Plants spreading by creeping roots and often forming large colonies. Weed of horticultural and cereal crops, roadsides and wasteland.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 236–239. Flora of Victoria. N. Walsh and T. Entwisle (eds), Vol. 4, 1999, pages 679–680.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Rosette
photo J.J.Dellow

Seedlings
photo J.J.Dellow

Stems are ribbed & covered with
hairs when young

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H48

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Creeping Knapweed

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Ragwort

Weed Identification

Australia > > Ragwort

Ragwort

Senecio jacobaea

Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of Europe.

Flowers/Seedhead: Small flowers (florets) in heads mostly about 2.5 cm wide. Flowers mostly spring to autumn.

Description: Biennial or short-lived perennial herb to 0.8 (rarely to 1.8) m high. Stems often branched towards apex. Basal leaves mostly 5–20 cm long and 4–6 cm wide, in a rosette, withering in flowering plants; stem leaves with upper surface dark green, underneath lighter in colour. Seeds of outer (ray) florets are hairless, those from the inner (disc) florets have fine bristles.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by stem leaves deeply divided and irregularly lobed; flowerheads numerous, often in flat-topped clusters at end of stems; bracts around flowerheads 11–14 in one row, 3–6 mm long; yellow disc florets surrounded by 11–15 bright yellow petal-like ray florets 4–12 mm long; seeds 1.5–3 mm long, topped with persistent bristles 4–6 mm long.

Dispersal: Mainly by seed spread by water, on animals, in stock feed or in mud attached to vehicles. Seed may be spread by wind dispersal but mainly over short distances.

Confused With: Other Senecio species, see taxonomic texts for detailed distinguishing features.


Stem leaves are deeply divided

Notes: Plants contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids, toxic to stock, that may retain some of their potency long after the pasture has been baled. Ragwort may dominate pasture and reduce carrying capacity. Plants damaged by native insects and a number of insects introduced for biological control.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 298–303. Flora of Victoria. N. Walsh and T. Entwisle (eds), Vol. 4, 1999, pages 949–950.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Flowerheads

Crown with numerous roots

Growing near Makarora, New Zealand
photo J.R.Hosking

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H49

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Ragwort

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Ox-Eye Daisy

Weed Identification

Australia > > Ox-Eye Daisy

Ox-Eye Daisy

Leucanthemum vulgare

Alternative Name(s): Chrysanthemum leucanthemum.

Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of Europe and western Asia.

Flowers/Seedhead: Many small flowers (florets) in heads surrounded by bracts in several rows, bracts with dark membranous margins, longest bracts 5–8 mm long. Flowers most of year, mainly spring and summer.

Description: Erect perennial herb to 1 m high. Leaves slightly hairy to hairless; basal and lower stem leaves ovate to spoon-shaped, to 15 (rarely to 18) cm long, to 2 (rarely to 4) cm wide, on a long stalk; stem leaves smaller, upper ones stem-clasping. Seeds dark brown, grey or black with pale ribs.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by creeping roots; stem leaves alternate, toothed to pinnately lobed, upper leaves with base stem-clasping; flowerheads 1–3 (at ends of branches), mostly 3–6 cm wide; florets arising from a pitted receptacle without scales; outer petal-like ray florets 10–35, white, 1–1.5 cm long, entire to toothed at the tip; inner florets yellow, tubular; seeds about 2.5 mm long.

Dispersal: Spreads by seed and creeping roots.

Confused With: Shasta Daisy, Leucanthemum maximum, which generally has unbranched stems, flowers in heads 5–8 cm wide and regularly toothed leaves. Leucanthemum vulgare has irregularly toothed or lobed leaves.


Flowerheads about 4cm wide

Notes: A showy garden escape.Weed of roadsides, cleared land, poor pastures and turf. Forms dense clumps that exclude other vegetation. Mainly grows in areas with over 750 mm per year. Not readily eaten by stock but if grazed will taint milk.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia.W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 290–291.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Leaves & spreading root system

L. maximum usually has
uniform teeth on the leaf margin
photo J. J. Dellow

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H50

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Ox-Eye Daisy

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Sticky Cape Gooseberry

Weed Identification

Australia > > Sticky Cape Gooseberry

Sticky Cape Gooseberry

Physalis viscosa

Alternative Name(s): Prairie Ground Cherry, Sticky Ground Cherry

Family: Solanaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of North and South America.

Flowers/Seedhead: Petals joined in a tube (corolla) 11–15 mm long. Flowers summer and autumn.

Description: Perennial herb to 60 cm high. Leaves to 5 (rarely to 6) cm long and to 3 (rarely to 4) cm wide, light green, margins undulate. Fruit orange when ripe, contained in a dull yellow-green joined sepals (calyx) 15–30 mm long, drying light brown. Seeds disc-shaped, sticky, 1.7–2.3 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by rhizomatous rootstock; plants sparsely hairy with minute forked hairs at least on calyx margins; narrow-ovate leaves; flowers with pale yellow corolla often with olive-yellow blotches between stamens, flower stalks 7–12 mm long; fruiting calyx papery, inflated, 10-angled in cross-section, containing a globe-shaped berry 10–15 mm wide.

Dispersal: Spread as seed by animals that eat the fruit, fruit floating on water and by cultivation spreading cut root sections.

Confused With: Other Physalis species. Most likely to be confused with Perennial Ground Cherry, Physalis virginiana, another rhizomatous species although this one has minute simple hairs or is hairless.


Leaves, flowers & inflated capsules

Notes: Seeds germinate and plants reshoot from roots in spring, growing over summer, aerial growth dies in autumn. Weed of irrigated land, railways and roadsides. Cultivation tends to spread plants. Fruit edible.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 604–606. Flora of Australia. A. S. George (ed), 1982, Vol. 29, 1982, page 184.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Growth prior to flowering

Seeds inside fruit within capsule

Dense stands outcompete
other vegetation, Benalla, Vic

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H51

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Sticky Cape Gooseberry

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Blue Heliotrope

Weed Identification

Australia > > Blue Heliotrope

Blue Heliotrope

Heliotropium amplexicaule

Family: Boraginaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of South America.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers: In a caterpillar-like arrangement (cyme) that is unbranched or with up to 7 branches. Flowers in 2 rows on either side of the cyme; joined petals (corolla) 5.5–8 mm long, blue to purple, yellow-throated. Flowers most of the year except for winter in southern parts of its range.

Description: Perennial herb spreading or prostrate up to 60 cm high. Root system large. Leaves 2–9 cm long and 0.4–2.5 cm wide, lanceolate, dull-green, hairy with glandular and non-glandular hairs, leaf stalk to 0.4 cm long. Seed-like segments of fruit (mericarps) ovate, 1.5–2.5 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by branchlets with glandular and non-glandular hairs; leaves with all hairs spreading on the lower surface, leaf base narrowing gradually; cymes without bracts; fruit consisting of 2 hairless mericarps.

Dispersal: Spread by seed in mud, produce, clothing and water, and will regrow from root buds.


Caterpillar-like arrangement of flowers,
Kiama, NSW, Dec

Notes: Common on roadsides, channel banks and table drains. Probably introduced as an ornamental and still used for that purpose. Major weed of pastures around Coonabarabran, NSW. Also a minor weed of sugar cane headlands. Cultivation may aid its spread. If eaten by cattle liver damage and death may result.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 333–335.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Seedling
photo J.J. Dellow

Juvenile
photo R.W. Medd

Forms dense stands, Colly Blue, NSW
photo J.R. Hosking

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H52

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Blue Heliotrope

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Horsetail

Weed Identification

Australia > > Horsetail

Horsetail

Equisetum hyemale

THIS PLANT IS ON THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL ALERT LIST
http://www.weeds.gov.au/weeds/lists/alert.html

IMPORTANT: IF YOU SUSPECT THE PRESENCE OF THIS PLANT, PLEASE REPORT IT BY CALLING 1800 084 881 (local call cost anywhere in Australia).


Alternative Name(s): Dutch Rush, Scouring Rush

Family: Equisetaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of Europe, Asia and North America.

Flowers/Seedhead: Fertile stems end in club-shaped groupings of shield-shaped spore-bearing scales.

Description: Perennial fern ally with erect unbranched, mostly perennial, stems to 1.2 m high. Stems arise from extensive rhizomes. Stems unbranched, evergreen, 4–6 mm wide, with 8–34 grooves, ridges with two indistinct rows of wart-like structures (tubercles).

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by hollow (for about half to two-thirds of width), longitudinally grooved, jointed stems with leaves reduced to fused cup-shaped sheaths as long as wide above each joint and with teeth that are soon shed; fertile stems end in club-shaped structures 0.8–1.5 cm long.

Dispersal: Spreads primarily by rhizomes and root pieces.

Confused With: Other Equisetum species, see taxonomic texts for detailed distinguishing features.


Stems are easily pulled apart at joints,
Mt Tomah, NSW
photo J.M.DiTomaso

Notes: A garden escape that is extremely difficult to eradicate, especially in rocky soils. Grows mainly in damp places. Outbreaks have been controlled following spread from plantings in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and WA. Plants have a high silicon content and have been used for scouring pots, hence the common name, Scouring Rush.

References:

    Flora Europaea. Second edition. T. Tutin et al. (eds), 1993, Vol. 1, pages 7–8. An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Spore producing cones,
leaves scale-like
at stem joints,
stems hollow,
California, USA
photo J.M.DiTomaso

Common Horsetail,
Equisetum arvense,
Terry Hills, Sydney

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H53.
More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

It has also been included in the 'Jumping the Garden Fence' report (WWF-Australia PDF - 1.19mb) which examines the impact of invasive garden plants on Australian agricultural land and natural ecosystems.

 

Australia > > Horsetail

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Mother-In-Law’s Tongue

Weed Identification

Australia > > Mother-In-Law’s Tongue

Mother-In-Law’s Tongue

Sanseviera trifasciata

Family: Dracaenaceae (or included in Agavaceae).

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of tropical Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Inflorescence a spike of greenish-white fragrant flowers. Flowers 2.5–3 cm long, with petals and sepals joined at the base to form a tube about half as long as the flower; 6 stamens inserted in top of tube. Flowers spring and summer.

Description: Perennial succulent to 1 (rarely to 1.75) m high. Leaves 1–6 per plant, strap-like, 2.5–9 cm wide, apex sharp-pointed. Berry about 8 mm wide, containing 2 seeds. Seeds pale brown, oblong, about 6.5 mm long and about 5 mm wide.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by presence of stolons; erect succulent fibrous leaves with greyish or light green bands and reddish, yellow or light green leaf margins; ovary above joined base of petals and sepals; fruit a berry ripening orange.

Dispersal: Spread by seed and stolons.


Large fleshy leaves
photo J.J.Dellow

Notes: Widely cultivated and naturalized. Has been grown for fibre.

References:

    Flora of NSW. G. Harden (ed), Vol. 4, 1993, pages 50–51. Flora of Australia. P. Forster, 1986, Vol. 46, pages 78–79.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Flower spike & leaves in a garden
at Innisfail, Qld, November

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H54

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Mother-In-Law’s Tongue

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Singapore Daisy

Weed Identification

Australia > > Singapore Daisy

Singapore Daisy

Sphagneticola trilobata

Alternative Name(s): Wedelia lobata.

Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native from Mexico to Argentina.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers: Flowerheads solitary in leaf axils, on stalks 3–14 cm long. Flowerheads with 4–14 petal-like ray florets with strap-like part 6–15 mm long and with 5 small lobes at the apex; inner (disc) florets tubular. Flowers spring to autumn.

Description: Mat-forming perennial herb to 70 cm high, with stems to 2 m or more long. Leaves 3–11 cm long, 2.5–8 cm wide, dark green above, paler below, with simple white hairs, margins toothed.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by spreading stems that root at nodes; presence of some leaves that are trilobed; flowers to 3.5 cm wide with yellow disc and ray florets; seeds 4–5 mm long, tuberculate and topped with short scales.

Dispersal: Spread by seed and locally by spreading stems.


Flowers & leaves with irregularly toothed margins

Notes: Introduced as an ornamental. Deliberately planted as a roadside and railway embankment stabiliser in Queensland. Heavily promoted by nurseries in the mid 1970s. Now common along the coast of Queensland, in tropical and sub-tropical areas and spreading in coastal areas of New South Wales and the Northern Territory. Singapore Daisy competes with native groundcover species. In north Queensland, it forms dense infestations along disturbed edges of rainforests. Also naturalised in Florida, Malaysia and on Pacific Islands.

References:

    Flora of the Venezuelan Guayana. P Berry et al., 1997, pages 360–361.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Young trilobed leaves

Forms dense stands, Maroochydore, Qld, Sept

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H55

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Singapore Daisy

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Brillantaisia

Weed Identification

Australia > > Brillantaisia

Brillantaisia

Brillantaisia Lamium

THIS PLANT IS LISTED BY D.A.F.F. AS 1 OF 17 CANDIDATE SLEEPER WEEDS

Family: Acanthaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of central and west Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers: Flowers with joined petals (corolla) in a tube for about 6 mm. Flowers all year round.

Description: Erect branched herb to about 1.5 m high. Stems with long soft weak hairs. Leaves to 11 cm long and to 7 cm wide, margins finely toothed, with long soft weak hairs on both surfaces; lower leaves on a stalk about 1 cm long, upper leaves lacking a stalk. Capsule about 3 cm long and containing about 20 seeds in each half.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by absence of spines, 4-angled stems and heart-shaped leaves; flowers in few-flowered panicles; flowers surrounded at base by calyx with lobes nearly equal in length, about 6 mm long and having some glandular hairs, corolla blue-violet, about 2 cm long; 2 stamens with anthers protected by hood of corolla and 2 infertile stamen-like staminodes within corolla tube and densely glandular; capsule cigar-shaped.

Dispersal: Spread by seed and rooting of stem fragments.


Leaves & square stems

Notes: Grows in damp areas forming dense single species stands. A problem in orchards, nurseries and along the banks of drainage ditches around sugarcane, as well as an environmental weed. Known from a number of locations in northern Queensland from Cow Bay in the north to Japoonvale (near Tully) in the south.

References:

    Flora of Tropical Africa. W. Thiselton-Dyer (ed), 1899, Vol. 5, pages 37–38.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Flowerhead

Roots from stem

Seeds and pods

Note 2 anthers protected by hood & immature
green cigar-like seed pod
Inset: Seeds

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H56

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Brillantaisia

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Common Thornapple

Weed Identification

Australia > > Common Thornapple

Common Thornapple

Datura stramonium

Family: Solanaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Probably native of the USA and Mexico.

Flowers/Seedhead: Trumpet-shaped and 5-lobed, surrounded at base by sepals 3–5.5 cm long. Flowers summer.

Description: Annual herb to 1.5 m high. Leaves 8–36 cm long, ovate to rhombic, margins deeply lobed, lobe margins coarsely toothed to undulate. Capsule ovoid, 2–4.5 cm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by hairless or sparsely hairy stems; white to lavender flowers, 6–10 cm long, stigma below to above anthers; erect spiny capsule, with over 100 spines of variable length, on a straight stalk; seeds black or grey, pitted, 2.5–4.5 mm long.

Dispersal: Spread by seed, particularly by water and as a contaminant in produce.

Confused With: Other Datura species but no others in Australia have capsules that are held erect and have numerous spines. May hybridize with Fierce Thornapple, Datura ferox, a native of China. The hybrids share characteristics of both parents.


Top: Deeply lobed leaves
Bottom: Fruit on erect stem
Gulgong, NSW, Feb
photos J.J.Dellow

Notes: Up to 30,000 seeds have been recorded from one plant. Seeds may remain dormant for many years. After seed-set the plant withers, leaving a skeleton from autumn to spring. Introduced to Australia in early 1800s. Now the most common of the Thornapples in Australia. All parts of the plant, particularly seeds, are toxic to livestock and humans. Rank smell and bitter taste usually deter stock from grazing plants. Weed of disturbed areas and summer crops. The plant known as Datura tatula is a purple flowered form of Datura stramonium.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 595–600.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


D. stramonium & D. ferox
hybrid
photo J.J.Dellow

Juvenile
photo J.J.Dellow

Datura ferox has large
spines
photo J.J.Dellow

Black seed
photo P.Abell

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H57

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Common Thornapple

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Downy Thornapple

Weed Identification

Australia > > Downy Thornapple

Downy Thornapple

Datura inoxia

Family: Solanaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native from the USA (Texas) to Bolivia in South America, and to the West Indies.

Flowers/Seedhead: Trumpet-shaped flowers appearing 10-lobed surrounded at base by sepals 5–11 cm long. Flowers summer.

Description: Annual to perennial herb to 1 m high and 2 m wide. Leaves ovate and 6–20 cm long. Capsule globe-shaped, 3–5 cm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by dense, erect glandular hairs on stems; flowers white with green veins, 12–19 cm long, stigma well above anthers; capsule with numerous slender spines, all nearly the same length (to 1 cm long), capsule stalk bent sharply downwards; seeds brown, 4–5 mm long.

Dispersal: Spread by seed with some dispersal as cut root pieces.

Confused With: Other Datura species but no others in Australia have capsules on a downward curved stalk, hairy leaves and stems with glandular hairs.


Top: Hairy leaves are entire or shallowly
lobed
Bottom: Fruit stalks turn down, Moree, NSW
photos J.J.Dellow

Notes: Widely distributed weed of disturbed land. A weed of summer crops. All parts of the plant, particularly seeds, are toxic to livestock and humans. Rank smell and bitter taste usually deters stock from grazing plants.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 595–600.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Datura metel
purple flower
photo J.J.Dellow

Hairy fruit with small spines
photo J.J.Dellow

Brown seeds
photo P.Abell

Juvenile
photo J.J.Dellow

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H58

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Downy Thornapple

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Lippia

Weed Identification

Australia > > Lippia

Lippia

Phyla canescens

Alternative Name(s): Carpetweed, Fogfruit.

Family: Verbenaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native to the Americas from California to Argentina and Chile.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flower tubes 2–3 mm long. Flowers late spring to late autumn in temperate areas.

Description: Hardy perennial herb with stems that root at nodes. Leaves with blade 0.5–3 cm long, 2–10 mm wide, ovate, without hairs or with short dense hairs; leaf stalk absent or short.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by mat forming habit; leaves with blunt short teeth; flowers open in more than a single whorl; bracts below joined sepals (calyx) with a tapered tip; calyx with lobes not more than half calyx length; inflorescence a dense short cylindrical to globe-shaped spike of tubular flowers, on a stalk which is 1–6.5 cm long and usually much longer than leaves at the stalk base; petals usually lilac or pink.

Dispersal: Spreads mainly by movement of pieces but also by seed.

Confused With: Phyla nodiflora which usually has greyish hairy leaves that are sharply toothed on the upper margin and an oblong flower spike.


Lilac tubular flowers in heads,
Euabalong, NSW, April

Notes: Introduced as a lawn species and previously used to stabilise soil and prevent erosion on banks of irrigation canals and around weirs. An important weed of inland areas, subject to flooding and usually downstream of irrigation areas. This species overruns native vegetation, has limited forage value and appears to be capable of suppressing the growth of neighbouring plants.

References:

    Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. A. Munir, 1993, Vol. 15, pages 109–128. Flora of Victoria.N.Walsh and T. Entwisle (eds), 1999, Vol. 4, page 418.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Root system, Euabalong, NSW

Purple carpet of Lippia, Mullalley, NSW, Nov
photo J. R. Hosking

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H59

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Lippia

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Subterranean Cape Sedge

Weed Identification

Australia > > Subterranean Cape Sedge

Subterranean Cape Sedge

Trianoptiles solitaria

IMPORTANT: IF YOU SUSPECT THE PRESENCE OF THIS PLANT, PLEASE REPORT IT BY CALLING 1800 084 881 (local call cost anywhere in Australia).


Family: Cyperaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of South Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Produced on erect inflorescence to 5 cm above ground and at ground level. Flowers in spring.

Description: Tufted annual sedge to 14 cm high. Stem to aerial spikelets 3-angled to flattened. Leaves to 8 cm long, ligule absent. Aerial spikelets about 1 cm long and with 2 flowers. Aerial nut narrowobovoid to narrow-elliptic. Basal spikelets forming broad ovoid nuts.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by yellowish green plants; leaves all basal; presence of basal (hidden by leaf sheaths) and aerial spikelets.

Dispersal: Spread by movement of seed.

Confused With: Some native small species of Schoenus species.


Plants produce aerial & basal flowers that
develop into nuts.
Inset: Aerial spikelet.
Photos J. R. Hosking.

Notes: Inconspicuous sedge only known from one urban reserve in North Balwyn, Victoria.

References:

    Flora of Victoria. N.Walsh and T. Entwisle (eds), Vol. 2, 1994, page 257.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Inconspicuous clumps,
North Balwyn, Vic.

Nuts at plant base.

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H60

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Subterranean Cape Sedge

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Cyperus teneristolon

Weed Identification

Australia > > Cyperus teneristolon

Cyperus teneristolon

Cyperus teneristolon

IMPORTANT: IF YOU SUSPECT THE PRESENCE OF THIS PLANT, PLEASE REPORT IT BY CALLING 1800 084 881 (local call cost anywhere in Australia).


Family: Cyperaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native from Ethiopia to South Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowerheads on triangular stems. Bracts at base of heads to 24 cm long. Flowers summer.

Description: Perennial sedge to 0.8 m high. Nuts three-angled, ellipsoid to ovoid, half to two thirds as long as the glume, 0.6–0.7 mm wide.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by presence of stolons and short rhizomes; leaves 1–3 mm wide with roughened margins; inflorescence purple to black with cylindrical central spike 6–10 mm wide; 3–5 leaf-like bracts at base of heads.

Dispersal: Spreads by stolons, rhizomes and seed.

Confused With: Other Cyperusspecies, see taxonomic texts for detailed distinguishing features.


Culms, large bracts at base of flowerhead
Katoomba, NSW, March.
Photos J. R. Hosking.

Notes: An important weed of crops in highlands of eastern Africa. However, in Natal the species is becoming uncommon, probably due to interference with its natural habitats. First recorded as naturalised in 2000. Cyperus teneristolonis only known in Australia from damp areas alongside a stream, downstream from a tip, at Katoomba in the Blue Mountains.

References:

    Common weeds of East Africa / Magugu ya Afrika Mashariki. P. Terry and R. Michieka, 1987, pages 72–73. The sedges and rushes of East Africa. R. Haines and K. Lye, 1983, pages 233–234.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Flowerhead

Base of plant, roots & stolons.

In damp ground, Katoomba, NSW, March.

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H61

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Cyperus teneristolon

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - King Devil

Weed Identification

Australia > > King Devil

King Devil

Hieracium praealtum

IMPORTANT: IF YOU SUSPECT THE PRESENCE OF THIS PLANT, PLEASE REPORT IT BY CALLING 1800 084 881 (local call cost anywhere in Australia).


Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of Europe and Asia.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowerheads on stems with sparse, long spreading, non glandular hairs throughout as well as sparse to numerous glandular hairs and a sparse to dense covering of star-shaped hairs towards the inflorescence. Bracts around flowerheads (involucral bracts) 6–8 mm long, with few to numerous long simple, star-shaped and few to numerous glandular hairs. Flowers summer and autumn.

Description: Perennial herb to 60 cm high. Leaves green above, paler below, 1.5–20 cm long, hairs scattered to absent on upper surface, as well as on midrib below. Seeds almost black when mature.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by presence of leafy stolons and rhizomes; leaves with margins entire to obscurely toothed; flowerheads 3–35 in flat-topped clusters on a stem with 0–2 leaves; all small flowers (florets) strap-like, deeply 5-toothed, yellow and without a red stripe on the outer surface; seeds cylindrical, ribbed, about 2 mm long and about 0.5 mm wide, with a flattened apex, ribs ending at the apex in minute points, top of seed with brown bristles (pappus) 4–8 mm long.

Dispersal: Spread by seed and locally by stolons and rhizomes.

Confused With: Other Hieracium species and with Crepis species.


Leaves with obscure marginal teeth
Arthurs Pass, NZ, Jan.
Photos J. R. Hosking.

Notes: One of the most weedy Hieraciumspecies in New Zealand. First recorded as naturalised in Victoria, near Falls Creek, in 2004.

References:

    Flora of New Zealand. C.Webb et al., 1988, Vol. 4, pages 324–332.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Yellow flowerhead, bracts & pappus.

Basal leaves & flowers on long stems
Arthurs Pass, New Zealand, Jan.

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H62

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > King Devil

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Buffalo burr

Weed Identification

Australia > > Buffalo burr

Buffalo burr

Solanum rostratum

Family: Solanaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native from Canada to central Mexico.

Flowers/Seedhead: In groups of a few to 10. Flowers 3–4 cm wide. Flowers late spring to autumn.

Description: Bushy branching annual herb to 1 m high. Leaves 2–10 cm long, ovate in outline, margins irregularly and deeply lobed, almost to midvein; leaf stalk to 5 cm long. Berry maturing brown to blackish with papery covering. Seeds dark brown or black, 2–2.5 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by prickles to 1.5 cm long on most parts; hairy with star-shaped and minute glandular hairs; bright yellow flowers (only yellow-flowered Solanum in Australia), anthers 6–8 mm long; berry ovoid to globe-shaped, 1–1.5 cm wide, enclosed in a prickly calyx.

Dispersal: Spread by seed, originally as a contaminant of cereal grain, and by movement of burrs on wool and cloth and floating on water.


Spiny fruit growing between Manilla & Somerton
NSW, Feb
photo J.R.Hosking

Notes: First recorded as a weed in Australia in 1904. Widespread but not common. May injure stock, causes vegetable fault in wool and was previously a problem in cereal crops. Poisonous, but seldom eaten because of its prickly nature. It is a weed of disturbed areas and overgrazed land in its native range. This species is also naturalised in Europe, South Africa, West Indies and New Zealand.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 618–619.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Flower and hairy leaves, near Manilla
NSW, Feb
photo J.R.Hosking

Branching herb with spiny stems
Scone, NSW, Jan
photo J.J. Dellow

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H63

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Australia > > Buffalo burr

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Caltrop

Weed Identification

Australia > > Caltrop

Caltrop

Tribulus terrestris

Alternative Name(s): Cat-head, Bindii.

Family: Zygophyllaceae

Form: Herb

Origin: Native at least of the Mediterranean, now cosmopolitan. One Australian species is probably included under this name.

Flowers/Seedhead: Solitary in the leaf axils, 5-petalled. Flowers summer and autumn in southern Australia.

Description: Prostrate annual with stems to 2 m long. Leaves with 4–8 pairs of oblong leaflets, each leaflet to 12 mm long, the upper surface dark green and often with hairy margins, the lower surface paler and hairy. Fruit 11–20 mm wide (including spines), comprising a cluster of 5 segments each with 2 larger divergent spines above and 2 smaller downward projecting spines below. Each segment with 1–5 seeds.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by petals 2–10 mm long; style shorter than to slightly longer than length of stigma and fruit with 2 larger and 2 smaller spines per fruit segment.

Dispersal: Spines of fruit segments ensure rapid dissemination of seeds.

Confused With: Other small-fruited spiny Tribulus species.


Stigma not obvious below style
Somerton, NSW, Feb

Notes: A troublesome weed of wasteland, pastoral land, cropping, vineyards and recreation areas. Sharp spines on dry fruit hamper stock handling, are a nuisance in recreation areas and fruit may contaminate drying grapes. Photosensitisation, staggers and nitrate poisoning are also caused by stock grazing Caltrop. Young sheep are especially sensitive. A native insect and mite damage plants and overseas biological control has been used to reduce problems associated with this species.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 640–643.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Ephysteris moth larvae

Native form of plant
Townsville, Qld, Nov
photo J.R.Hosking

Taproot

Seedlings
Griffith, NSW, Oct

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H64

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Caltrop

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Spiny emex

Weed Identification

Australia > > Spiny emex

Spiny emex

Emex australis

Alternative Name(s): Doublegee, Three-cornered Jack

Family: Polygonaceae

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of South Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Female flowers are in axillary clusters and male flowers in terminal spikes. Flowers mostly late winter to early summer.

Description: Prostrate to partially erect annual hairless herb with a fleshy taproot and stems to 70 cm long. Leaves ovate, 3–7 cm long with a leaf stalk 2–11 cm long on basal leaves. Fruit 3-faced, each face with 4 uneven depressions or pits, 3-spined, each spine to 5 mm long, fruit to 1 cm wide, green, drying brown. Seeds roughly triangular, brown, 3–4 mm long, 1 per fruit.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by 3-spined fruit 7–11 mm long.

Dispersal: Spread by seed.

Confused With: Emex spinosa which has fruit 4–5 mm long.


Emex australis Narrabri, NSW
Sept

Notes: Leaves have been cooked and eaten as a vegetable. Plants contain oxalates and have been suspected of poisoning stock. Plants mostly germinate in autumn and winter and can produce fruit within 1 month. Seeds in soil may remain viable for many years. Now a major weed of a wide range of winter crops, especially wheat. Sharp spines of fruit often cause lameness in dogs, puncture small tyres and restrict the use of recreation areas. Also a serious weed of dried grapes as spiny fruit may become mixed with drying sultanas and grapes on drying racks. These spiny fruit are difficult to grade out.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 540–544. The Biology of Australian Weeds. F. Panetta et al. (eds), Vol. 2, 1998, pages 89–105.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Emex spinosa is often confused with E. australis
Cunnamulla, Qld, Sept

Emex australis seedling
photo J.J. Dellow

Emex australis fruit & seeds

Emex spinosa fruit

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H65

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Spiny emex

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - African daisy

Weed Identification

Australia > > African daisy

African daisy

Senecio pterophorus

Family: Asteraceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of South Africa and Swaziland.

Flowers/Seedhead: Heads in flat topped clusters at the end of stems. Flowers late spring to autumn.

Description: Erect perennial herb to 1.5 (rarely to 3) m high. Leaves lanceolate to narrow-elliptic, 5–10 (to 14) cm long and 0.5–1.5 (to 2.5) cm wide.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by leaves green above and white cobwebby below, margins toothed or entire; a ‘wing’ extending for a short distance down the stem from the lower side of the junction between the leaf stalk and the stem; bracts around flowerheads (involucral bracts) 4–6 mm long, 18–22 in one row; 8–13 yellow petal-like ray florets with strap-like parts 4–7 mm long, disc florets yellow; seeds 1.5–2 mm long topped by hairs (pappus) about 5 mm long that readily separate from the seed.

Dispersal: Spreads by movement of seed, by wind, water or movement in mud.

Confused With: Other tall Senecio species.


Mature flowerheads

Notes: Introduced to SA at Port Lincoln in ballast, in about 1930. Now well established in the Eyre Peninsula, the Adelaide Hills and south-eastern SA and present and increasing in Victoria and NSW. Cultivated as an ornamental. Readily invades areas following burning or clearing. In early years of infestation it may dominate pasture but if left undisturbed usually thins out and is not often a problem in well managed pastures or crops. This Senecio is also naturalised in Spain and England and forms dense populations in riverbeds near Barcelona.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 306–308.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Seeds & pappus

Leaves white underneath,
note leaf base
extending down stem

Juveniles

Older juvenile

St Clair, NSW, Jan

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H66

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > African daisy

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - African weed-orchid

Weed Identification

Australia > > African weed-orchid

African weed-orchid

Disa bracteata

Alternative Name(s): Monadenia bracteata, South African Orchid, Monadenia.

Family: Orchidaceae.

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of South Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: In spring.

Description: Orchid to 75 cm high with annual above ground growth from a perennial bulb. Leaves in a rosette in early spring. Seeds dust-like.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by spike of up to 50 small flowers that are brown, pink and white with a yellow tongue-like labellum; grows from tubers.

Dispersal: Spread by wind-dispersed seed and remerges each year from a perennial tuber.


Flowering spike
Strathewen, Victoria
photo. J. Jeanes

Notes: The species is self-pollinating. It forms dense colonies and replaces native ground flora where it occurs in Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria. First herbarium specimens were collected in Western Australia in 1944, in South Australia in 1988 and in Victoria in 1994. Populations of this orchid have increased rapidly where the species has established.

References:

    Environmental Weeds: A Field Guide for SE Australia. K. Blood, 2001, page 173.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Dark pink to brownish flowers with a yellow tongue-like labellum
photo. J. Jeanes

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H67

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > African weed-orchid

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Asthma weed, Pellitory

Weed Identification

Australia > > Asthma weed, Pellitory

Asthma weed, Pellitory

Parietaria judaica

Alternative Name(s): Pellitory of the Wall, Wall Pellitory.

Family:

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of Europe, western and central Asia and northern Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Greenish, central flower female, lateral flowers bisexual. Bracts below flower often cone-shaped at base. Flowers most of year.

Description: Perennial herb with spreading to erect stems to 80 (rarely to 100) cm long. Stems reddish to green. Leaves 1.5–9 cm long, lanceolate, ovate or rhombic, hairy on both surfaces, strongly veined; leaf stalk 1–1.5 cm long. Single seeded dry fruit (achene) maturing dark brown to black, hard, 1–1.2 mm long and 0.6–0.9 mm wide.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by irregularly curled hairs on leaves and stems; axillary flower clusters along much of the stem; stigma on a long style.

Dispersal: Spreads mainly by movement of seed, particularly when attached to animals, machinery and people. Some local spread via root pieces.


Hairy perennial plant usually with over 6
flowers per leaf axil

Notes: Thrives in cracks, especially against walls. A common weed on roadsides, gardens and especially where there is seepage. A declared noxious weed in the Sydney region. Pollen causes an allergic response in some individuals. Pellitory is also naturalised in North and South America and in New Zealand. In Australia, Pellitory is commonly confused with Parietaria debilis and Parietaria cardiostegia both of which are native annuals having mostly ovate leaves and almost stalkless (sessile) stigmas.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 622–624.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Seedlings

Mature plant
Mosman, NSW, Sept
photo A. Burrowes

Seeds and bracts

Growing from wall
in Darlinghurst, NSW
June

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H68

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Australia > > Asthma weed, Pellitory

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Mexican poppy

Weed Identification

Australia > > Mexican poppy

Mexican poppy

Argemone ochroleuca

Family: Papaveraceae

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of Mexico

Flowers/Seedhead: 3–6 cm wide. Flowers all year round.

Description: Erect annual herb to 1.5 m high. Leaves 6–20 cm long, mottled white and dark green, with undulate margins and yellow-spined lobes. Capsule 1.5–4 cm long, ovoid, with a remnant style (often attached after capsule has split), splitting from the top on maturity. Seeds dark brown or black, finely pitted on the surface.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by yellow sap; pale yellow petals 2.2–2.6 cm long and 1–1.7 cm wide, stigmatic lobes spreading out from the style; capsule with largest spines 5–13 mm long; seeds nearly round, about 1.5 mm wide.

Dispersal: Spreads by movement of seed.

Confused With: Other Argemone species that, in Australia, have mostly bright yellow petals or longer and wider petals.


Pale yellow petals
Louth, NSW
November

Notes: It is a crop weed of varying importance in warm temperate to subtropical areas of Australia and many other countries. Plants are also common in river beds, overgrazed pasture, cultivated fields, roadsides and waste places. All parts of the plant are toxic to stock and humans. Contamination of feed with seed of Mexican Poppy may result in poisoning of stock and sometimes stock death.

References:

    Noxious Weeds of Australia. W. Parsons and E. Cuthbertson, 1992, pages 534–537.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Seeds

Juvenile

Argemone mexicana
has bright yellow petals
Emerald, Qld, Sept

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H69

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Mexican poppy

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Weeds Australia - Weed Identification - Capeweed

Weed Identification

Australia > > Capeweed

Capeweed

Arctotheca calendula

Family: Asteraceae

Form: Herb

Origin: Native of South Africa and Lesotho.

Flowers/Seedhead: Many small flowers (florets) in solitary heads, 2–6 cm across at the end of stalks 8–25 cm long. Flowers mostly spring and early summer.

Description: Annual rosette-forming herb with taproot; individual plants to 80 cm wide and 30 cm high. Leaves with upper surface hairless to hairy; basal leaves 5–25 cm long, 2–6 cm wide, on a stalk to 6 cm long; upper leaves, if present, stem-clasping.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by deeply lobed basal leaves, white downy underneath; area where seeds attach to the head (receptacle) pitted; petal-like ray florets yellow above, grey-green below with strap-like parts mostly 1.5–2.5 cm long, disc florets dark purple; seeds covered in pale brown wool and topped by 6–8 short scales.

Dispersal: Spread by movement of seed, by wind, water or movement in mud.


Flowers & mature flowerhead
Hanwood, NSW
October
photos G. Sainty, J. R. Hosking, J. J. Dellow

Notes: Germinates autumn and winter, dying in summer. Widespread and common in temperate areas, and sometimes dominant in pasture. A weed of cultivation, pastures, lawns and disturbed areas. Plants are readily eaten by stock, but woolly seeds may cause impaction. Grazing is thought to taint milk and where Capeweed is the dominant feed nitrate poisoning of stock is possible.

References:

    Plants of Western New South Wales. G. Cunningham et al., 1981, pages 680–681.

Web References: Search Australian web sites for further information on this weed.


Dense stand
Bonnie Doon, Vic
October

Seedling

Rosette
Wombat, NSW

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card H70

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.

 

Australia > > Capeweed

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