Parthenium weed eradication continues in the Katherine Region


The prolific weed, Parthenium (Parthenium hysterophorous) was found in the Katherine region late last year.

The eradication response by the Territory Government is progressing well, but landowners are being urged to remain on the lookout for this problem plant.

Native to Central and South America, parthenium weed was first recorded in Australia in 1955 and has since spread through central Queensland, where it is well established.

Sporadic occurences in NSW and the Northern Territory have been the target of successful eradication responses.

At least eight previous incursions of parthenium weed have been successfully eradicated in the Northern Territory.

Parthenium is a major problem in rangelands and cropping areas of Queensland costing farmers and graziers more than $22 million a year in reduced production and increased management costs.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) weed scientist Lou Elliott said parthenium is a Class A (to be eradicated) weed in the Northern Territory, as well as being classified as a Weed of National Significance (WoNS).

Mr Elliott said the weed eradication response is progressing well with fewer detections made each week.

“The early detection and subsequent, prompt reporting by the landholder has been critical to the success of our eradication efforts so far,” Mr Elliott said.

“More than 1000 plants were detected during the first week and that number is now down to less than 20 new plants each week, most of which are small seedlings.

“However, as parthenium matures very quickly and is a prolific seeder, we will continue our weekly eradication efforts to ensure no plants set seed.

“We continue to urge the public to remain vigilant and report any sightings to Weed Management Branch on 89994567.

“Plants can reach maturity in 28 days with a single plant able to produce up to 15,000 (2mm long) seeds that can persist in the soil for up to six years.

“All parts of the parthenium plant, at any stage of growth, are toxic to humans and animals.

“Early detection and intervention has been critical in eradicating parthenium when it was previously found in the Northern Territory.”

The Weed Management Branch has also been speaking directly to landholders to help better assess the risk of parthenium weed spread across the Territory, to assist landholders in early identification, and to communicate the potential impact of parthenium weed on their business and the Territory economy.

If landholders suspect they have parthenium they are urged to contact the Weed Management Branch immediately and not to attempt controlling plants themselves.

Parthenium sightings can be reported by calling 89994567.

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