Australia’s worst weed poses threat to Coast farmers
  • Monday 20 October 2014

Council is advising rural property owners, especially those in the Eumundi to Kenilworth areas, to be on the lookout for Fireweed—a class 2 declared pest plant, which is toxic to livestock when ingested.

Fireweed Senecio madagascariensis,  is a Weed of National Significance (WONS). It is regarded as one of the worst weeds in Australia because of its invasiveness, potential for spread, and economic and environmental impacts.

It is a small short-lived perennial herb with bright yellow, daisy like flowers. These have 13 petals and are around the size of a 10 cent coin.

Councillor Jenny McKay sits on the Rural Futures Taskforce and said rapid spread of Fireweed is a real problem to our farmers—an average Fireweed plant can produce over 10 000 seeds each year.

“We are advising property owners to be vigilant and treat infestations while they are small to prevent them establishing,” Cr McKay said.

“A fact sheet, detailing identification, control and removal methods is available on Council’s website and officers are available to help with identification and advice on control.

“Small amounts of Fireweed are easily removed by hand but larger infestations may require chemical control, which can be expensive.

“Council controls Fireweed on roadsides and government land and over the next few months officers will be conducting property inspections as a part of the pest survey program.

“And it’s not just rural property owners that need to keep a look-out—we’ve also been finding Fireweed in residential areas, including some ‘hotspots’ at Little Mountain and Meridan Plains: especially in newly turfed areas.

“Our turf farms on the Coast are clear from Fireweed so it’s likely being brought in from outside the region.”

Council is asking residents who see this plant to contact council on 07 54757272.