News [ 35 items ]
*Acacia longifolia var. sophoraeMIMOSACEAE
Widely spread throughout the world. Used for soil preservation &^ nitrogen fixing especially along coastal areas. A quick growing tree with a lifespan of 5 to 6 years.
Low growing with sprawling lower branches, reaching 3 m high & 4m wide.
Bark on older stems is grey, either finely fissured or smooth, on younger branches it is green/reddish.
Leaves, 4 to 11 cm x 10 to 30mm, dull green, oblong with blunt, slightly rounded tips. 2 to 4 longitudinal veins.
Bright yellow flowers, elongated spikes up to 50mm long occurring in the leaf axils. Flowering late winter into spring..
Woody cylindrical pod often coiled & twisted on opening. 4 to 15 cm long. Constricted between each seed. Dark, smooth seeds 5 to 6mm long x 3 to 4mm wide, each with a large fleshy orange aril attached to the seed, sometimes irregular.
Aboriginal people harvested the green seed pods, then steamed them lightly. The protein rich seeds are picked out & eaten.
The flowers are used in yellow dye & the pods for green dye. The bark, high in tannin has a limited use for tanning sheep skins & fishermens sails.
This medium-sized, dense wattle was used for stabilising sand dunes following sand mining. However, it will often pop up where soil has been disturbed, growing rapidly (up to a metre a year) and potentially suckering. It also self seeds easily, with baby wattles often sprouting around the parent. Look for a spreading shrub with a short stem topped by drooping branches ... a willow-like habit.
Widely naturalised in SA, NSW, VIC, TAS & WA.
An introduced escaped cultivated garden plant.
18 to 50 cm tall x 3 to 20mm wide, strap like leaves & 3 angled stems. Strong garlic, onion smelling leaves when crushed or bruised.
White flowers with a green stripe running down the middle, 6 petals, pendulous bell shaped in clusters borne on a stalk 10-25mm long. Spring & Summer.
Fruit is initially green, rounded capsule4 to 7mm across maturing to light brown containing several small black seeds.
Stock will not eat it. Causes dermatitis in some people.
A declared weed in the Borossa & Mount Lofty Ranges.
Dig out isolated plants, carefully removing all the roots. Spray larger infestations before flowering.
Capeweed, Cape marigold.
Originates from Cape Province in South Africa, first collected in Australia in Albany WA in 1834, now found all over Australia.
I am writing this article early than flowering time as it is important for control measures to remove the weed before flowering & seeding. It is easily removed from the lawn or garden or small infestations by cutting at ground level by a bread knife. It is a great composting plant, quickly activating, better than Comfrey in my opinion.
Capeweed is a low growing prostrate, heavy lobed leaves 3-25cm, forming a rosette. Germinating Autumn & Winter. Green above white below.
Flowers in late Winter to Spring, a single headed daisy-like flower, yellow with a purplish to black center, grey/green below. 15 -20 petals. 30-70mm wide.
Seeds are like pale brown wool. Easily dispersed by wind, movement or water. Up to 4 300 seeds per year.
Extremely invasive, competitive. Dominating lawns, pastures, roadsides all habitats.
Can be grazed by stock but is thought to be toxic & can taint milk.
Small infestations can be easily removed by hand as I have already described or by glyophosate as directed by retailer.
Native to Southern Europe & Northern Africa & Western Asia.
Common naturalised species particularly found in Southern parts of Australia, VIC, NSW, WA, QLD & southern NT. Pastures, rangelands, open woodlands, grasslands, disturbed sites, cropping areas, common along roadsides.
A tufted herbaceous plant 20-80cm tall. Onion-like leaves, cylindrical, hollow & elongated, 2.5 to 7mm thick.
Flowers arranged on the upper stems on short stalks, white or pinkish with a reddish stripe down its center ,6 petals, 15 to 20 mm across. Flowering Spring & Summer. Most plants do not flower in their first year.
Fruit is an almost round capsule, 4 to 7mm across, divided into 3 compartments containing 1 or 2 seeds. Turning from green to pale red-brown or sandy brown. Seeds are dispersed by wind, water, machinery or mud. Germinates at any time of year mostly late Summer & Autumn.
Regarded as an environmental weed of high invasive nature, competitive with native & pastoral species. Not eaten by stock.
Dig out isolated plants being careful to remove root pieces before flowering. Increase the level of cultivation. Spray larger areas on advice of the local herbicide retailer in Winter to Spring.
Blowfly grass. Big quaking grass. Shell grass. Shakey grass.
Tufted grasslike annual 0.2 to 0.6m high.
Native to Nth Africa, W Asia, Sth Europe, naturalised in most parts of southern Australia.
Introduced as a garden ornamental although this is rarely seen nowadays.
3 to 12 distinct green large pendulous seed heads, grey/green with reddish brown top 2cm in Spring & Summer. Seeds germinate in Autumn after rains & then die back in summer
Brizia can be known to impede the growth of native plants. Easily pulled out.
A garden escapee that originated from Sth Africa, now found in bushland, in disturbed sites & along roadsides in most states of Australia.
Tolerant of full sun & shady sites preferring moist areas.
Long rigid sword like leaves with a prominent midrib, 80cm x 2 to 5cm
Annual flower spikes up to 2 m tall of numerous pink, red or dull orange of tubular curved flowers 5 to x 3 to 4 cm in Spring.
Bulbils or corms, up to 8 cm in diam, reproducing new plants arising in Winter, the plant becomes dormant in Summer & Autumn.
The best time to remove or spray this weed is in September before flowering, being careful to remove all bulbils from the disturbed soil.
Declared a noxious weed with detrimental effects on native flora & agricultural lands, poisonous to animals & humans, spread by water, animals, machinery disturbed soil.
Two-horned Sea Rocket
A world wide highly invasive hardy weed that originated In North Africa & temperate Europe, spread by wind water, tide, birds, ship ballasts & sand transportation. It is quick to establish in harsh maritime saline conditions becoming a coloniser species along high tide lines & sand dunes. Its two part seed pod ensures that one seed part is retained close at the parent plant whilst the second seed part is easily dispersed to another location. The seedpod/fruit is small, flat 1.5-2cm long, horned or unhorned, may or may not be present at flowering time.
Leaves are fleshy, unevenly lobed & divided , 2-8cm long.
Flowers, pink to lilac sometimes white, 4 petals, 1-1.5 cm wide,
characteristically opening from the bottom of the stem
& then upwards towards the top. Fragrant.
Flowering all year.
Orange bellied parrots feed on its seed, whereas high levels of erucic acid can have pathological effects on the cardiac muscles of other animals.
Control measures must be carried out every eight weeks, before seed drop by hand pulling or spraying with a suitable herbicide, often difficult in a large scale operation.
Control of Cakile is rarely undertaken.
Tree Lucerne, Silky cytisus, Tagasate.
Native to the Canary Islands in the Mediterranean.
Widely naturalised throughout Australia except in the N.T. Also Norfolk Island & NZ.
Small tree 1-6m tall with drooping branches. Branches, leaf undersides, flowers & fruit are softly hairy.
Leaves are up to 7 cm long in a group of 3 elongated leaflets 10-50mm long.
White or cream flowers pea shaped flowers 14 to17 mm long in small dense clusters. Winter.
Elongated, flattened pods that turn brown or black when mature 4-6cm x 8 -12mm wide.
Seed is dispersed by birds, insects & animals & the natural explosive propulsion of the ripened pod but also by slashing, machinery & garden waste. Seed will germinate readily after a fire. It has a long seed life & the nitrogen fixing ability will increase soil fertility & encourage other weed germination.
This plant is used as a fodder crop & sometimes is used in land rehabilitation or as a garden ornamental.
In Australia there are 3 main species of fleabane. C.bonariensis (flaxleaf fleabane), C.canadensis (Canadian fleabane) & C. albida (tall fleabane). Of these 3 species, flaxleaf fleabane is the most common in Australia.
A common garden & roadside weed most of year.
Growing to a height of 1m.
Spindly looking with numerous branches arising from the main stem base.
Narrow leaves, being wider at the base of the plant, upper leaves becoming narrower. Leaves are elongated, lance shaped, ranging from light green to dull khaki.
Both stems & leaves are slightly hairy.
Cream to beige colored flowers, feathery balls, situated in terminal clusters.
Control of this weed depends on removing the flowers & consequent seed heads & thoughtfully disposing of them. Hand pulling of this plant is made easier by soaking the soil first.
Native to Europe, Arica & Asia.
Common weed in man made or disturbed sites. Mustard like.
Reaching 50 cm tall.
Lobed or toothed leaves. Lower leaves form a rosette at the base with leaves along the stem gradually becoming nearly leafless on the upper stems.
Stems topped with yellow or occasionally purple oval shaped 4 petalled flowers with large anthers. Spring to Summer.
15 to 40mm seed pod, a flattened tube with a pointed tip that splits when ripe & dry to release the seeds.
Leaves are edible, raw or cooked.
An erect, branching perennial weed, invading neglected disturbed sites, roadsides, railways& pastures reaching 1m tall and between 30 to 80 cm wide.
Fleshy dark green, dived & lobed. Bigger leaves more & divided on the lower portion of the plant. 10 to 15cm long.
Flowers have 4 petals, 8 to 15mm across occurring singly & in clusters at the end of stems. Flowering all year.
Produces a cylindrical seed pod 2 to 5cm long x 1 to2 mm wide, with a small beak. Containing approximately 50 to 80 brown or yellow orange egg shaped seed 2mm.
Lincoln weed has a deep tap root which it can reproduce as well as seed.
Lincoln weed was initially planted as a soil binder, but is known to be poisonous to stock, although rarely eaten. It does contaminate cereal pastures & will taint meat & dairy produce.
Paterson’s Curse, Salvation Jane
Native to Mediterranean Europe & Nth Africa. Introduced into Australia as a garden ornamental & accidentally released in the 1850s & was showing potential as a major weed by 1890.
Prolific seeder, producing more than 10,000 seeds per plant a year, with seed soil life of 5 years.
Occurs in disturbed sites in all states of Australia.
Seeds may germinate at anytime of the year, mainly after Summer or Autumn rains, producing a rosette, of green hairy egg shaped leaves that may grow to 15cm long, they may have stem leaves which are smaller than the base rosette leaves. Stems may be 60 to 150cm tall.
Predominately noticeable when it comes into flower, Sept to December. Purple occasionally white or blue, curved trumpet, 2 to 3 cm long borne on a branched spike. Up to 4 seeds per flower.
Extensive widespread infestations of pastoral regions, natural vegetated sites & will pop up in gardens.
Great for bees but it is toxic to most grazing animals especially cattle & horses less so sheep.
Grazing by sheep after a suitable herbicide application proves the most effective control method but this must be done for a prolonged period.
False Caper, Geraldton Carnation, Spurge, Terracina Spurge.
Originated in Mediterranean coast & Canary Islands in the Atlantic, Nth of the Red Sea. Introduced for unknown reasons probably as an ornamental plant. Common in many areas, coastal & inland, poor or fertile soils in both disturbed or undisturbed sites with rapid growth & prolific seed production. Spread easily by wind, water, birds, animals & by explosive seed propulsion.
Upright shrubby plant to thigh high.
Leaves alternate along the stem lance shaped, with a whorl of 5 leaves below the flowering stalks.
Flower, a lime green, 2 leaved structure. Flowering in Spring
Resistant to herbicides, slashing, grazing or burning with a deep tap root that will re-sprout, with re-emergent plants more robust with greater seed output.
Seed production starts in young emerging plants, it is important to control young plants as early as possible before seed set, taproot development or herbicide resistance occurs. Soil seed bank remains or 3-5 years so extensive follow up measures must last for 5 years. Sap is toxic & will cause irritation to unprotected skin. Manual removal is best between June- Nov. Appropriate herbicide application best between June -Aug.
*Evening PrimroseOENOTHERA BIENNIS
Evening Primrose, Evening Star, Sundrop, Weedy Evening Primrose, Kings Cure-all
Native to Chile, Argentina, Northern & Central America
This biennial weed may grow to 1m tall, with a stiff reddish brown stem.
Dark green lance shaped, wavy edges, a conspicuous paler midrib, usually with tiny teeth on edges near tip. Leaves 5 to 20cm long x 1 to 2.2 cm wide forming a rosette at base in the first year, forming spiral stem leaves in the 2nd year, becoming shorter up the stem 3 to 10 cm x 5 to 12mm wide. Yellow, sweet smelling flowers, 2 to 4 cm across, 4 petals, notched at end, with conspicuous midrib, with 8 stamens, opening in the evening, fading to russet brown& crumpling. Flowering Spring to Autumn.
Seed capsule, 18 to 35 mm, club shaped, splits into 4 sections along midribs. Seeds, yellow to brown almost smooth, seeds germinate in Autumn to Spring. Seed is dispersed by wind & soil dispersed. Can remain viable in the soil for 80 years.
Mature seeds contain Gamma-linolenic acid which is an anti-inflammatory that is used to treat PMS, is beneficial to the skin & is used for eczema, bruising & wounds. It has a long history of medicinal usage. The leaves & roots have & are consumed by Native American Indians.
Frequently found on roadsides, wastelands & disturbed sites. Not dangerous to grazing stock. A favorite to birds & pollinating insects, often considered a beneficial rather than pest weed.
Native to the Meditteranean.
Hardy, perennial herb, 2.5m tall, with hollow stems. Feathery leaves, strongly aniseed flavoured & scented.
Yellow tinted flowers in terminal umbels, 5 to 15cm across of 20 to 50 flowers on short stalks in Summer. Seeds can be eaten raw, cooked or made into tea. Good for flatulence, colic, nursing mothers, externally the oil is good for rheumatic & muscular pain.
Planted near dog kennels it is good for keeping away fleas.
Remove plants before flowering time is vital. Use a combination of different control methods, spray, dig out, slash.
Fennel spreads by seed on machinery, animals &humans, in water, it will regrow from crown or root fragments.
*Fumaria copreolataWhite Fumitory
Climbing Fumitory, Ramping Fumitory, Rampant Fumitory (NZ)
Originates in Europe, Mediterranean, Western Asia, & Nth Africa.
Robust, angular hairless stem, annual vine, climbing & trailing up to 1m long.
Bright green much divided leaves. 2-3divisions nearly to the midrib, triangular or egg shaped segments, 5-15mm long.
Pretty, small white flowers with black to reddish spot on the tips of the petals. Tubular, narrow 10mm by 2mm on stalks that bend downwards. Up to 40 in a cluster of flowers from July to November
. Fruit is a nut-like capsule with 1 seed, smooth, globular, 2mm in diameter also curving downward. Each plant can produce up to 22 500 seeds a year that can remain soil dormant for 20 years.
White Fumitory has various medicinal properties, but should only be used under the consultation of a qualified herbalist.
White Fumitory has not been reported as dangerous to stock. Continual grazing may help control this weed.
Weed of cultivated areas, crops, disturbed sites, shrub lands & gardens. Spread by machinery, clothing, boots & tillage. Ants are a natural dispersal agent as the seed coating is a food source for ants.
Manual removal of small infestations is easily achieved. Although hand pulling must be vigilant & continual to be effective.
Correct identification is extremely important for management with herbicide susceptibility varies between species.
Fumitory hosts a range of fungal pathogens including Peronospora affinis & Alternaria radicina which are both potential biological control agents.
Broad leaved Cotton Bush. Wild Cotton Bush
Native to South east Africa. Introduced into Australia as an ornamental garden plant. Now an environmental weed in Western Victoria & Southern South Australia of waste lands & also an invasive plant of conservation areas. This photo was taken on the foreshore region of Lady Bay. It is the larval food plant of the Wanderer Butterfly (Danaus plexippus), also an introduced species.
Upright stems, 0.5 – 1.5m tall with an underground fibrous root stock.
Broad egg shaped leaves with rounded bases & a pointed tip, 4 -7 x 1. 5-3cm, slightly fleshy, green above & paler below with a conspicuous whitish mid vein.
Attractive flowers are grouped in a dense ball with pale mauve, green or greyish petals on the outside & 5 cream or white boat shaped lobes on the inside. Flowering all year round but mostly April to Aug.
The fruit or seed pod is an inflated pod with bristle like protrusions that will ripen from pale green to dark green sometimes with maroon stripes. When it is ripe it will burst open to release the black seeds each white tufted. Seed is long lived up to 5 years. It is dispersed by wind or water.
Wear gloves when handling this weed as the plant produces a white irritating sap.
Hand pull individual plants after rain when the soil is softened.
Cotton bush is poisonous to stock but is rarely eaten.
Native to the Mediterranean.
Annual grass to 50cm. Leaf blade is >2mm wide & emerges rolled & overlapping at the base. Rapidly germinates in Autumn. A valuable fodder for stock when in vegetative state, but avoided by stock when in flowering/seeding stage. It can cause eye problems for grazing animals, also reduce live weight gains & a reduction in wool quality.
A colonizer of disturbed sites & pastures. It is a major host to many cereal diseases. Consult with your local herbicide retailer for management strategy.
Seedhead, a spike with distinct awns. Flowering Spring to early Summer.
Catsear, Flatweed, False Dandelion
Perennial. Native to South America. Low growing rosette of rough & hairy leaves, rounded toothed edges 5-20cm x 10 -40 mm.
Many petalled yellow flowers, in a ray formation, 3 cm across on branched or solitary stems
15 – 80 cm high. Mostly flowering Nov – Jan & throughout the year.
Seedhead & flowers similar to dandelions. Often mistaken for Dandelions, the main differing feature is Dandelions have a hollow stem, Catsear has a solid stem.
Edible raw leaves, roots can be roasted.
Common in lawns, roadsides & bushlands.
Remove flowerheads before seeding to cut down on seed dispersal.
Prickly Lettuce, Compass Plant, Scarole
Annual or biennial plant, up to 2 m tall. A relative of cultivated lettuce. Originting in Europe, Asia & Africa.
Blue green leaves with saw toothed divided edges & a prominent mid vein up to 30cm long. Leaves grow along a spiny stem, progressively getting smaller towards the top. Similar to L.saligna but lacks spines on the lower stem but may have a few spines on the lower side of the leaves. Leaves on the stem follow a north south plane hence the name Compass Plant.
Pale yellow flowers, 15mm long, Oct to Feb with white seedheads that look like dandelions.
When cut it emits an irritating milky latex.
Colonizer of disturbed sites. Germinates in late Autumn & Winter. Leaves can be eaten when young though do taste bitter.
Minor crop weed in Australia. Can be found in gardens & alongside roads. Manually remove plants including the taproot with gloves or spray with appropriate herbicide before the flowering stems have started to elongate.
Hare's tail grass
Originated in the Mediterranean, thought to have been an introduced escapee ornamental garden plant now a widespread weed, common on sandy soils disrupting native species & leading to an increased fire risk.
A clump forming grass, growing to 50cm with soft hairy leaf blades. Germinating in June & July.
The characteristic seedhead is white, soft, dense, egg shaped, 1 to 6cm x 1 to 2 cm in Spring through Summer. Prolific seed producer which is dispersed by water, wind, animals & machinery.
Effective management is dependent on the prevention of seed set. Hand removal of small isolated infestations & herbicide application of larger infestations in Sept & October is most effective.
Lagurus is similar to native Hedgehog Grass (Echinopogon spp) which have a similar seedhead but are a greenish coloured , less dense feathery on its spikelets.
BLUE or SANDPLAIN LUPIN
Widely cultivated as a fodder & grain crop. A common weed of disturbed sites, roadsides, woodlands, waterways. Deep strong taproot that has nitrogen fixing nodules on the top of it.
Upright & short lived 0.2 to 1.2 m tall.
Much branched hairy stems.
Radiating handlike compound leaves with 7 to 13 leaflets.
Blue pea shaped flowers,12 to 17 mm long in elongated clusters at the tips of branches. Flowering in Spring.
Long pods, 4 to 6 cm long x 1.3 to 1.7 cm wide, densely hairy containing 5 to 5 mottled grey, flattened seeds.
Spread by machinery, contaminated soil, fodder & water.
Member of the nightshade family, native to South Africa, it was introduced to Australia as a garden ornamental plant in the mid 1800s.
A woody, many branched perennial shrub up to 5m high.
Distinct 1cm woody spines on the trunk & branches.
Smooth oval shaped leaves 10 to 40mm long x 4 to 10mm wide.
White or purple 5 petal flowers with white stamens, appear solitary in leaf axils. Mostly flowering in Summer or throughout the year.
Fruits are shiny, round or egg shaped, orange or red in colour on a drooping stalk .Each containing about 70 dull yellow seeds. This photo was taken at Lady Bay in early July.
Boxthorn displaces native vegetation, forming dense thickets & providing habitat for foxes & rabbits. It is also a host plant for fruit flies.
Spread by birds, it can germinate at any time of the year provided it is moist & warm enough.
It has a deep branched root system that will readily sucker or regenerate from broken pieces.
Persistent long term control measures by mechanically removal, being careful to remove branch & root pieces & burn & follow application of herbicide on any regrowth over many years.
Cheeseweed, Egyptian mallow, Marshmallow, Sunflower mallow.
Persistent weed native to Southern Europe, Central to Western Asia & Northern Africa. Found in disturbed sites, around farm yards, roadsides, wastelands.
Broad leaves 8 to 10cm across with 5 to 7 lobes on long 11 to 13 cm stalks, Leaves can be toxic to mammals & can cause staggers in lambs.
M. parviflora is able to flower & seed within 2 months of germination. Germination occurs after Autumn & Winter rains. Photo is of a young plant in May.
White to pink flowers with 5 petals, 4 to 6 mm long with twisted buds in axillary clusters. Flowering Mar through to Nov.
The fruit is a dry disc of joined sepals that split into many sections when ripe & dry, each containing one seed. Seeds remain viable for possibly 100 years.
This weed has a single deep taproot which renders it resistant to glyophosphate. Remove single isolated young plants by hand. Consult your local herbicide retailer for best spray during April to July.
Similar species are M.nicaeensis or native species Lavatera plebeia .
Common Horehound, White Horehound.
Native to South & West Europe, West & Central Asia & North Africa. Introduced into southern Australia as a medicinal herb in the early 19th century.
A perennial weed to >60cm high. With a deep taproot & fibrous lateral roots. Germination occurs throughout Winter & Spring. Common around sheep camps, rabbit warrens, roadsides, bushlands, disturbed sites & gardens.
Leaves are a grey green, wrinkled, with rounded tooth edges & a rounded tip, to 7cm long. Aromatic.
Small white flowers in clusters, grouped in the leaf & stem junctions, flowers throughout the year but particularly in Summer & Autumn. Flowers dry to form a burr like fruit with backward facing hooks. About 20 000 seeds per plant a year. Seeds are easily dispersed by clothing, machinery , wool, socks, fur & water. Seeds cause considerable reductions in wool value.
Horehound has been used in the past as a medicinal remedy for respiratory ailments. (Tastes YUK). Recent scientific studies conclude the essential oil possess antidiabetic & anti inflammatory properties.
Marrubium is also used as a natural grasshopper repellent.
Small infestations are best hand pulled before the plant matures the deep taproot. Herbicide is effective. Larger infestations require an extensive ongoing program. Care must be taken with seed dispersal via machinery & stock. An Autumn low intensity fire followed by revegetate with preferable perennial species. Regrowth may be more palatable to sheep & horses. Slashing annually before flowering may decrease the seed stock, although seed may remain viable for 7 years. Plume Moth biological control appears to be effective against re-emergent seedlings after herbicide treatment.
Burr Medic, Burclover, Toothed Medick, Trefoil
Annual weed found in lawns, roadsides, agricultural lands & disturbed sites. Germinates from April to October. New seedlings have oblong leaves. Later leaves are trifoliate, clover like in shape.
Flowers from May to November, a tiny pea shaped yellow flower that cluster into flowerheads at the ends of the stem. Stems are up to 60cm long which often root at the nodes.
The fruit pod is an annoying tightly coiled seed pod with rows of prickles on the outside edge, about 6-7mm across. Green & soft when young but maturing brown & harder. Each pod has several yellow or tan kidney shaped seeds. They cling to fur, fleece, clothing. Uncomfortable in lawns. Seeding from Aug to Dec, noticeable right now. Seeds remain viable 5+ years.
Unfortunately removing top growth will not eradicate this weed. Herbicide treatment is best done on seedlings. So look out for seedlings next June
Hand pulling young seedlings before flowering is an organic Autumn job. They form long trailing stems which take roots at the nodes, this can be pulled up , wear gloves. Dispose of carefully into a garbage bin. To pick up scattered burrs, throw a old camper mattress down & pick off & dispose of the burrs.
Occasionally it is toxic to livestock.
Creeping Oxalis, Creeping Wood Sorrel, Procumbent Yellow Sorrel, Sleeping Beauty
Creeping, ankle high weed. Native to South Africa & Europe.
This weed has light sensitive leaves that fold up at night. Trifoliate green leaves which are subdivided into 3 leaves which can fold downwards, some leaves maybe purple (O.altopurpurea).Leaves have a lemony taste which can be infused in hot water, sweetened then chilled. High in vitamin C. Although safe in low doses, it can inhibit calcium absorption in the body if taken in large doses over a prolonged period.
Yellow 5 petalled flowers, 6mm, in clusters or single throughout the foliage. Throughout the year but mostly in spring.
The seed capsule is about 1-2cm long containing a single seed, the fruiting capsule is held on a bent stem, like a knee joint. Explosive pods that distribute the seed when ripe.
Common weed in gardens, crops & pastures or roadsides. May cause oxale poisoning, mostly to pregnant ewes that have been exposed to dense stands.
Manual removal, digging, mowing, grazing or herbicide application is effective but will take several years of persistence to totally eradicate this weed.
Soursob, Bermuda buttercup, African Woodsorrell, Goatsfoot
A readily recognised familiar invasive weed in August. Native to South Africa introduced into SA in 1841.
Leaves are bright green, often with a single dark spot on each leaf, in a trifoliate (clover-like) arrangement grouped in a large clumping rosette on longish stalks to mid calf height. Bearing yellow flowers on longer stalks up to 150-350mm high, 5 free or slightly fused petals. Closing in the shade & at night. Flowering Winter to Spring.
Extremely difficult to eradicate, this weed propagates largely through its underground bulbils which easily break off when the weed is pulled up & spread , reinfesting the area. Up to 4500 kg/ha of bulbils can be produced in a year.
Repeated application of herbicide is the most effective control method on larger outbreaks, on smaller infestations in the garden one can try smothering/mulching the weed with newspapers or pieces of carpets. Do not pull up plants.
It is relatively harmless to humans & stock in small doses, fatal to guinea pigs & pet rabbits. In large doses it painfully fatal to stock. The sour tasting stalks are often enjoyed by children .It does contain Oxalic Acid. Has been used in folk medicine, as a food & dye.
Originated in South Africa.
Found throughout Australia.
5 to 10 grass like leaves to shin height.
5 petals pink greenish underneath, 2 to 3cm across that initially open close to the ground & then the stalks will elongate to lift them into the air. Aug to Nov.
Above ground vegetation dies back in summer leaving underground corms that can withstand hot dry summers.
Produces abundant seeds that are dispersed by animals & insects that will often grow well ahead of desirable species, using up available moisture & nutrients thereby reducing productivity of pasture & crops.
No nutritional value to animals as it will remain undigested in the gut, if large amounts are eaten it can obstruct the bowel & cause death.
Encourage competitive desirable species as Romulea prefers no completion. Regular slashing or mowing before the plant has set seed, to no higher than 1cm. Herbicide treatment on the advice of your herbicide retailer at the appropriate stage of corm development is crucial to kill off the corm.
Native to Europe, North West Africa & Western Asia. Escaped from cultivated gardens of settled European gardens in Eastern & Southern Australia.
Scrambling, deciduous shrub 1.5m with small sharp prickles.
Egg shaped leaves are arranged in pairs opposite to each other, 5 -7 leaflet pairs, with sharp serrated edges.
Pink 5 petalled flowers, 2.5cm across on hairless stalks clustered at the ends of branches. Late Spring to early Summer.
Red – orange oval fruit or hip, 1.5 – 2cm. Fruit is high in vitamin C & antioxidants, used for syrup, tea, marmalade & wine. Used in homeopathic medicine. Hips where gathered & used during WWII in Britain to supplement scarce citrus fruits.
Forms of this plant are used for grafting or budding of cultivated rose varieties.
Pollinated by bees, flies, Lepidoptera & self pollinated. Weedy & invasive in some regions.
Plants can be dug out of the ground, slashed or mowed in Spring, then spray the re-emergent shoots with a herbicide. Continual control measures must be adhered to for many years to be effective against this plant. Considered a minor or potential weed in SA.
Egyptian Rose, Mournful Widow, Mournful Bride, Pincushion Flower, Sweet Scabious.
Native to South Europe, North Africa & Western Asia. Escapee of cultivated gardens, now a naturalised weed in Australia & USA. Fast growing & invasive, easily spread seed. Found widespread in gardens, roadsides, paddocks.
To 1 m tall, untidy, wiry stems, with opposite, much lobed leaves on many branches.
Flowers on long stems, pink, lavender, purple occasionally white, forming a compact, many pedalled pincushion head. Spring & Summer.
Flower head drying to a brown or tan , bristly, oblong seed head, 3 x2 cm.
Manually remove plants from gardens or spray with appropriate herbicide before seeding occurs.
Milk Thistle, Common Sow Thistle
Native to Asia, Africa & Europe. Occurs throughout Australia.
An invasive weed emerging in gardens, fields, crops & roadsides now, August(pictured). Will grow to 1 to 1.5 m tall.
It has a hollow stem which exudes a milky sap when cut or broken.
Soft, mid green, deeply lobed, toothed edged leaves that clasp the stem, 5 to 25 cm long gradually becoming smaller towards the top of the plant.
Bright yellow, dandelion like flowers, disc ray with many petals, bisexual, 2cm across, at the ends of the stems. Most of the year.
100s of dark brown seeds with white feathery tops that appear after the flower which are easily dispersed by wind or movement. Each plant can produce 25 000 seeds per year.
Leaves can be eaten as a salad green or cooked like spinach. Boiling or blanching will remove the bitter taste. Milk Thistle has a wide range of medicinal properties. A popular snack for pet birds. Makes an excellent addition to a green fertilizer brew or compost.
Hand pulling young plants is best as older plants have a deep root which can be loosened by a garden fork . It will not persist where grazed. Tillage is effective, especially before the weed seeds. Glyphosate is quiet effective.
Gorse, Furz, Common Gorse, Irish Furz
Native to Europe & Nth United Kingdom. Introduced into Australia 150 years ago. A dense, prickly shrub up to 7m but typically 3m tall. Mature plants have spines along the stem. Waxy leaves are very spiny. Green & darkening with age. Young seedlings have trifoliate leaves resembling a small cloverleaf. Yellow pea shaped flowers in clusters towards the ends of branches, usually flowering in Spring & Autumn. Plants start to flower when plant is 18 months old.
Fruit is a dark pod 1 to 2 cm long covered in fine hairs, containing 2 to 6 yellow green seeds. Seeds are released in Summer. Viable for up to 30 years.
Seed spread by seed ejected by ripe seed pods, also by machinery, birds, water & stock.
Gorse occurs in pastures & crops & native vegetation. Resulting in decreased production & biodiversity & an increase in habitat for foxes & rabbits. Extremely flammable & fire regenerative. Prevention is the most cost effective means of control. Prevent flowering & thereby reducing seed.
Integrated control methods must be long running & persistent & with cooperative efforts with neighboring land owners. Herbicide application, on advice of herbicide retailer, when plants are at least 500mm high, best when plants are actively growing during Spring To Summer & after Autumn rain. Do not spray when plants are flowering. Recheck plants after 12 months & reapply herbicide if necessary. Grazing with sheep & especially goats on re emergent seedlings is moderately effective & nutritious to stock. This also applies after controlled burning. But beware, Gorse is extremely flammable.
Biological pest control is very effect when used on this plant. The gorse Spidermite (Tetranychus lintearis) & the Gorse Seed Weevil (Exapion ulicis) reduce the spread of this weed.
Gorse is used in some counties as a hedge plant or stock fodder. The wood has been used to make utensils, due to its on toxic properties, The flowers are also used in Homeopathic Bach Flower Remedies.
Red or Purple Star Thistle.
Native to S & W Europe, although rarely found there nowadays has become a noxious weed across the globe.
Multi branched stems forming a dense mat to 1 m tall.
Dark green deeply lobed lowers leaves becoming less divided higher up, 2 to 8 cm x 1 to 3cm with course hairs.
Numerous flowers at the ends of branches or in leaf axils. 1.5 to 2 cm long, bright or pale purple sometimes pink, July to October with surrounding spikes 10 to 30 mm long in 1 to 3 pairs.
Each flower dries to produce about 1000 seeds per plant, that aren’t wind dispersed, rather falling close to the parent plant or being dispersed by water, machinery, fur, wool or contaminated hay.
Cultivation can stimulate germination so combined cultivation & herbicide application can be most effective as long as the thistles are treated at seedling stage, usually winter or spring. Individual plants can be dug out being sure to remove as much of the tap root as possible.