19 June 2020

Residents urged to report Madagascan Fireweed

| My Gungahlin
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The ACT Government is again asking Canberrans to be on the lookout for the invasive weed Madagascan fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) as recent rainfall and warm weather may prompt the weed to flower, set seed and spread in the ACT.

“ACT Government weed management staff will work to control weed incursions as quickly as possible on both public and private land and are inspecting known fireweed sites on a weekly basis,” Pest and Weeds Officer, ACT Parks and Conservation, Jenny Conolly, said.

“Where residents find the weed growing in their gardens or on their nature strip, we are asking if they can please report and appropriately remove it before it flowers and seeds spread. Residents who remove this weed should wear gloves, as it can irritate the skin, and double bag it when disposing of it in their household garbage.

“Infestations of Madagascan fireweed have previously been detected in Forde, Franklin, Chisholm, Casey, Lyneham, Crace and Coombs on public and private land, but we are asking residents to be on the lookout for fireweed across the ACT more generally, especially on major arterial roads, as it may have been spread via vehicles from the south coast and Sydney.

“Madagascan fireweed is a small multi-stemmed daisy-like plant with bright yellow flowers often with 13 petals. It is usually 10 to 60 centimetres tall. The weed produces fluffy wind borne seeds. Plants can produce tens of thousands of seeds, making it highly invasive.

“A major concern is the toxicity of Madagascan fireweed to horses and grazing livestock. If ingested it can cause liver damage in these animals similar to the effects of toxins found in Paterson’s curse.

“Madagascan fireweed is considered one of the most damaging weeds to grazing land and the environment. It initially invades land along roadsides before spreading into neighbouring pastures and nature reserves. Locating and eradicating the weed quickly will save the ACT significant expenditure in future weed control and protect our native fauna and grazing lands.

“I urge residents to inspect their gardens and nature strips, report any sightings of Madagascan Fireweed, and actively remove any fireweed plants found to help us manage the infestation.

“The ACT Government is reminding local businesses and residents it is illegal to intentionally or recklessly import a pest plant into the ACT, with fines being up to $7,500 for individuals or $37,500 for corporations. It is also an offence to intentionally or recklessly propagate a pest plant in the ACT.”

Madagascan fireweed sightings can be emailed to [email protected] or reported to Access Canberra on 13 22 81. Take note of the exact location of the sighting and include a photo of the plant for confirmation. For more information on Madagascan fireweed visit www.tams.act.gov.au

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