News & Media

Eyes up for pest weeds

Released on

Released on:
Wednesday, 8. February 2017 - 10:00

Producers in the Great Southern are encouraged to look out for any unusual problem weeds which could pose a risk to agriculture.

Department of Agriculture and Food biosecurity officer Mike Clark said weeds that were flowering, such as devil’s claw (Proboscidea louisianica), would be easier to spot at this time of year. 

He said the department was currently undertaking general surveillance for this and other species as a part on its search program.

“Devil’s claw is a priority declared weed and surveillance is important to prevent it establishing in Western Australia,” Mr Clark said.

“Devil’s claw is a soft, pumpkin-like vine and prior to summer flowering, it can be confused with a cucurbit. However, the hairy stems and leaves of devil’s claw exude a slimy, sticky sap with an unpleasant odour.

“The flowers, which appear in February to March, are creamy-white to purple and with dark purple and orange spots.”

Mr Clark said devil’s claw got its name from its fruit which splits to form two hard-curved claws. If established, devil’s claw could interfere with harvesting or cause injury to livestock.

“Although devil’s claw is more commonly associated as a problem plant of irrigated systems, and is unlikely to survive in dry cropping areas, pockets of plants could survive around soaks, dams or in farmhouse gardens.”

Producers can assist by checking their paddocks for any unusual weeds and report any sightings to the Pest and Disease Information Service on 1800 084 881; or by using the MyWeedWatcher smartphone or online reporting tool.

On the lookout for unusual weeds such as devil’s claw
On the lookout for unusual weeds such as devil’s claw which is in flower at this time of year 

Media contacts: Lisa Bertram, media liaison  61 (0) 8 9368 3937