24th Jun 2020

NSW DPI are urgently appealing to landholders in the Glen Innes region for assistance with sightings of Parthenium weed (Parthenium hysterophorus), an invasive and noxious weed species with significant potential to cause harm to humans, livestock and animals. 

Previously abolished from the area, there have been several recent sightings of Parthenium weed across NSW and NSW DPI Biosecurity believe the weed has been re-introduced to the region through hay delivered from Queensland during the 2019 drought. 

The impacts of Parthenium weed can be critical. The weed invades pastures and crops, causing severe human health problems such as respiratory illness and severe dermatitis. It can also cause health problems in livestock and animals, taint the taste of meat and milk, contaminate grain and reduce crop yields. In addition, Parthenium weed is unpalatable to livestock, outperforms pastures and is a host plant for crop viruses.

Parthenium weed can be recognised by its height – usually growing between 1.5-2m tall – pale green leaves covered in soft fine hairs and small star-like clusters of creamy white flowers which measure 4-6mm and are reminiscent of baby’s breath. The stems are grooved, woody when older and have many branches when flowering. 

Landholders can expect to find Parthenium weed where livestock (including poultry) have been fed grain or hay (especially if it has come from Queensland), where earthworks have taken place, particularly if machinery has come from Queensland), near bare soil (cultivated areas, roadsides, poor pastures) or where grain crops have been harvested by contractors.  

Landholders are reminded that Parthenium weed could have been spread by loose seed during the transit of feed from Queensland, and so any property that has received hay, or is near a road where a feed truck has passed by could, be at risk. 

If you believe you have seen this weed, please call the NSW Biosecurity Helpline on 1800 680 244 immediately. For more information, call New England Weeds Authority Officer, Trent McIntyre on 0438 501 286.

Images of Parthenium weed supplied by NSW DPI.

click for larger image