Victoria’s push to remain parthenium-free

Beef Central, 19/11/2013

As Parthenium creeps south to within 50km of Victoria’s northern border, the state’s Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) is calling on farmers and machinery transporters to help prevent the introduction and spread of the toxic weed.

DEPI Director of Invasive Plants and Animals Operations Beth Jones said parthenium had not yet been detected in Victoria, has been detected just 50km north of the Victorian border in NSW.

“The risk of transportation into Victoria on contaminated machinery or in contaminated feed is high,” Ms Jones said.

“The community can help by learning how to identify parthenium weed and reporting any suspect findings to DEPI.

“If parthenium enters Victoria and becomes widespread, it has the potential to destroy pastures and downgrade our productive land. Parthenium weed can also cause severe allergic reactions, dermatitis, hay fever or asthma to humans and is toxic to cattle.”

Ms Jones said parthenium leaves were grey-green, and initially grew in a flat rosette. She said the mature stems had distinct grooves along them, were covered in fine hairs and could grow to two metres tall.

Flowers are creamy-white, star-shaped, about 4mm across and are in open branched clusters above the foliage. Flowering can occur year round in favorable conditions, but usually in late spring and summer.

“This weed currently infests over eight million hectares of Queensland, New South Wales and Northern Territory and costs the agricultural industry in Queensland over $22 million annually in lost production and control costs.”

Parthenium weed is declared a State prohibited weed in Victoria, the highest category under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994.

Sightings of parthenium weed should be reported immediately to DEPI on 136 186, emailing weed.spotters@depi.vic.gov.au or reporting online at www.depi.vic.gov.au/weeds

Ms Jones said DEPI gives priority to preventing State prohibited weeds from entering Victoria and eradicating them should they enter Victoria.

For more information about parthenium weed please contact DEPI on 136 186 or visit www.depi.vic.gov.au/weeds

Click below to to view larger images of parthenium

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