Kochia

Status of kochia in Tasmania

(Bassia scoparia)

KochiaGeneric Weed Distribution Map
  • Kochia is a declared weed in Tasmania under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of kochia are prohibited in Tasmania.
  • The legal responsibilities of landholders and other stakeholders in dealing with kochia are laid out in the Kochia Statutory Weed Management Plan.


What does kochia look like?

  • Kochia is an erect annual bushy herb growing to between 30 cm and 2 metres tall depending on conditions. The stems are typically pale green with a red tinge, thin and much branched. The leaves grow to 50 mm long and 8 mm wide, have no stalk, are hairy and flat, alternate up the stem, and have 3 or 5 longitudinal veins on the underside. The leaves and stems change colour progressively from green to pale yellow, pink, purplish red and brown as the plant ages and dies. Kochia is summer-autumn flowering. The flowers are inconspicuous, green and occur singly or in pairs in the leaf axils or on the ends of branches.
  • Seeds germinate mostly in early spring. Flowering occurs from February to May, and the plant dies off in late autumn to early winter. The seed is spread when the dead plant breaks off at ground level and the bush is 'tumbled' along the ground by the wind, shedding seed in the process. Seed remains viable in the soil for up to three years.

Kochia

Image top: Kochia (Image: Pedro Tenorio-Lezama)
Image above left: Kochia (Image: Pedro Tenorio-Lezama)

Impacts of kochia

  • Kochia is a weed of pasture and crops. Kochia has been promoted as a salt-tolerant fodder plant, but has a high potential to spread and become weedy. Kochia is also toxic to stock whose diet is comprised of more than 50% kochia

Where does kochia occur

  • Kochia is a native of Asia and central Europe. Kochia was used widely in Western Australia as a salt-tolerant fodder plant in the early 1990's and has since naturalised as a weed in that State.
  • Kochia has not naturalised in Tasmania. Several crop infestations have occurred around the Deloraine area in northern Tasmania as the result of carrot seed contamination; however all infestations have been successfully eradicated.

What you need to do

  • If you locate kochia anywhere in Tasmania, or if you find a plant that you think could be kochia, immediately contact your Regional Weed Management Officer on 1300 368 550 to report this weed.

See also
Kochia Statutory Weed Management Plan
Weed Links and Resources

Other useful links
Pest Genie
APVMA
Weeds in Australia - Weed Management Guide

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