What is spiny emex?(Emex australis)
- Spiny emex is a weed of pasture and crops.
- Spiny emex is a declared weed in Tasmania under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of spiny emex are prohibited in Tasmania.
How to identify spiny emex
- Spiny emex
is an annual herb that is usually prostrate (ground-hugging) but which
may grow erect when growing among tall plants. Normally a rosette of
leaves forms around the crown from which numerous trailing stems
develop. Stems are purplish at the base and the leaf nodes, growing to
50 cm long.
- The leaves are triangular to oval shaped, while the
flowers grow in the leaf axils and are small and inconspicuous. Spiny
emex fruits go from green to brown as they ripen, are hard and woody,
and triangular with three rigid and sharp spines.
germinate at any time but mainly in autumn and winter. Flowering occurs
from late winter to early summer. Spiny emex as young as 6 weeks old can
- For help in identifying spiny emex, search the Dennis Morris Weeds and Endemic Flora database
for spiny emex illustrations. If you are still in doubt about the weed
you are dealing with, contact your Regional Weed Management Officer on
1300 368 550 for help.
Image top: Spiny emex plant with fruit, photo: Rod Randall, The Plant Protection Society of Western Australia
Image above: Spiny emex fruit, photo: Julia Scher
Spiny emex in Tasmania
- The distribution
of spiny emex is very limited in Tasmania. Spiny emex has been recorded
on Flinders Island and occurs near South Arm in the state's south.
Spiny emex prefers drier, sandy soils, and occurs as an occasional weed
of pastures, roadsides and neglected areas.
- Spiny emex is a weed
of pastures and crops and is toxic to stock. Severe infestations can
significantly reduce pasture productivity and crop yields. Although not
readily eaten by stock, spiny emex can cause sheep deaths due to
poisoning. The spiny fruit can also cause inconvenience to barefooted
people, cyclists, and can cripple dogs working in infested areas.
What is the legal status of spiny emex in your area?Detailed management and control guidelines for spiny emex can be found in the Spiny Emex Control Guide. Refer also to Herbicides for Spiny Emex Control. For further information see DPIPWE's Weed Links and Resources.
Spiny Emex Control Guide
Herbicides for Spiny Emex Control
Statutory Management Plan for Spiny Emex
DPIPWE's Weed Links and Resources
Other useful links
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