Biosecurity Update

January/February 2021

Megan Wyllie Invasive Species Coordinator

Parthenium weed, Parthenium hysterophorus, spreads rapidly, is dangerous to grazing animals and reduces crop and land values. Contact with the plant or pollen can cause serious allergic reactions in people.

It has been found in the South East for the first-time following information provided to the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and now efforts are underway to eradicate the weed from a property in the Kiama Local Government Area.

NSW DPI State Priority Weeds coordinator, Mich Michelmore is working with South East Local Land Services Regional Weeds Coordinator, Illawarra Shoalhaven Joint Organisation staff and other local weeds officers to support the landholder to eradicate and prevent further spread of the weed in the region.

The incursion is assumed from the same source, contaminated wholegrain organic chicken feed, as other incursions in the north of the state. However, the seed of parthenium weed can also be bought in through other feed and fodder from non-local sources.

In this recent find there were plants in all stages of growth. Many were removed by hand around Christmas time by a few dedicated weeds officers. Efforts to remove all plants are ongoing.

The incursion is a timely reminder for people in the South East of NSW, including coastal areas, to be on the lookout for parthenium and call their local council with any suspected sightings of the weed.

Please remain vigilant for this weed, and check key areas such as:

  • sites where hay, grain or seed has been fed to pets, livestock or chickens
  • roadsides and areas with bare soil, where soil or compost have been delivered or where earthworks have taken place.

People who suspect they have seen parthenium weed can call the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline, 1800 680 244 or their local council for plant identification and assistance.

Further information can also be found on the DPI website here and here.

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