Watch out for Parthenium weed

Property owners in the Tamworth region are being asked to check for Parthenium weed, after the weed was found growing in Bendemeer and Tamworth.

Parthenium weed can cause severe asthma and dermatitis in humans, and health problems in livestock. It can also taint the meat and milk of animals.

Tamworth Regional Council Senior Weeds Officer Mal Stein said the Parthenium weed typically flowers following rainfall.

“This means that the weed is easier to spot but please do not touch or attempt to control the weed if you see it on your property. Parthenium weed can be very invasive and can create seed banks that last 15 years.

“Landholders should check hay sheds, grain, silos and feed out stations regularly. It can also be found along roads with regular traffic from Queensland, and areas where grain has been fed to livestock.”

Earlier this month, a landholder in Bendemeer rang the NSW Biosecurity Helpline asking for a positive identification of Parthenium weed. Tamworth Regional Council Noxious Weed Officers were alerted and attended the property, where they positively identified and treated the weed.

A few days later, Council Weed Officers positively identified and treated Parthenium weed during a routine inspection on a property in Tamworth. The infestation covered about two hectares of the property. Stockfeed purchased from Queensland is believed to be the cause of the infestation.

“Thanks to the efforts of biosecurity weed officers in the North West region and vigilant landholders we currently have no established infestations of Parthenium weed. We want this to continue and this is why we need the community to call us if they suspect the weed is on their property,” said Mr Stein.

Parthenium weed can be difficult to identify until it flowers, landholders should look for:

· Five white lobed flower heads, each four to six millimetres in diameter.

· A stem containing vertical grooves in light and dark.

· Leaves that are pale green and covered in soft fine hairs.

· Weeds that grow to be 80 centimetres or taller.

Anyone who sees what they think is the Parthenium weed, contact Council’s weed officers by calling (02) 6767 5555 or the NSW Biosecurity Helpline at 1800 680 244.

Image: Phillip Blackmore from Department of Primary Industries