Be on the lookout for Noogoora Burr

Noogoora burr (Xanthium strumarium), note the clusters of prickle-like burrs and grape-vine like leaves which help to identify this weed.

The invasive weed Noogoora burr (Xanthium strumarium) was recently detected along the banks of the De Grey River, in the Pilbara with travellers now being asked to keep an eye out for the declared plant.

A surveillance and eradication program is underway and the 24 hour rest area at the De Grey River currently closed to help prevent spread of the burr.

Noogoora burr is a declared pest in Western Australia, occurring in some areas of the Kimberley but not established in the Pilbara or elsewhere in the State.

The affected landholders on the De Grey River, including De Grey Station and Main Roads WA, together with the Pilbara Mesquite Management Committee, the Pilbara Regional Biosecurity Group and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), have recently undertaken surveillance to determine the full extent of the infestation.

All plants found were either hand pulled and deep buried or sprayed for later burning.

Jo Kuiper (PMMC) and Kay Bailey (DPIRD) manually removing seeding Noogoora burr plants on the De Grey River, to be disposed of by deep burial.

This collaborative approach will enable planning for a long-term management program to eradicate Noogoora burr on the De Grey River and ensure the infestation does not invade further through the Pilbara region.

The community’s help is needed to watch for the weed and report suspect plants to DPIRD, as early detection will help to prevent this weed becoming a serious problem in Western Australia.

What is Noogoora Burr?

Noogoora burr is one of the most serious and widespread weeds in the world.

A summer growing annual plant it has large, lobed, rough, grape-vine like leaves, fleshy stems, reaching up to two metres tall and produces clusters of prickle-like burrs (1.5-2cm long).

Noogoora burr.

It is often abundant after spring or summer floods and flourishes in areas with high rainfall and a temperate climate, particularly along rivers and creek flats, on roadsides and pastoral land.

Plants are toxic to livestock, pose a threat to the environment and the burrs can contaminate wool in sheep grazing areas.

How is it spread?

The seed located in the burrs is spread by attaching to pets and livestock, clothing and other fibrous material.

It can spread by mud and soil material on vehicles and equipment.The burrs can also float, enabling the weed to move and spread via rivers and waterbodies.

DPIRD encourages travellers leaving the Kimberley to check their clothing, vehicles, equipment and animals for weed burrs and carefully dispose of them to prevent Noogoora burr spreading further south.

If you find Noogoora burr or come across any suspect or unfamiliar plants contact the nearest DPIRD office or the DPIRD Pest and Diseases information service on +61 (0)8 9368 3080 or

Information is also available on the DPIRD website.