Amsinckia Species

Amsinckia, photo: Karen Stewart

What is Amsinckia?

  • Amsinckia species are erect annual herbs from the Americas, also known as yellow burrweeds or fiddlenecks. There are four species of amsinckia naturalised in Australia, A. calycina is known in Tasmania.
  • Amsinckia is a significant crop weed in Tasmania.
  • Amsinckia species are declared weeds in Tasmania under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of amsinckia are prohibited in Tasmania.

How to identify Amsinckia

  • Amsinckias are hairy, winter-growing annual herbs, usually 20 to 70 cm high.
  • Seeds germinate with the first autumn rains and further germinations occur through autumn and winter. The plant grows as a rosette (a whorl of leaves close to the ground) during winter and a flowering stem emerges in late winter or spring.
  • Small yellow trumpet-like flowers are arranged along one side of the stem in a spike-like inflorescence coiled at the top. Flowering occurs from August to October/November. Aromatic seeds replace the small flowers in summer and autumn. Plants die off after seed set.
  • For further help in identifying amsinckia, search the Dennis Morris Weeds and Endemic Flora database for amsinckia 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.
Amsinckia, photo: Karen Stewart
Photo top right: Amsinckia - flowering, photo: Karen Stewart
Photo above: Amsinckia close-up, photo: Karen Stewart

Amsinckia in Tasmania

  • Amsinckia occurs in southern and northern Tasmania, particularly in the Derwent Valley and Central Highlands. Amsinckia grows in a wide range of soil types and climates, but prefers disturbed, dry and open situations.
  • Amsinckia is a weed of grain, poppies and other crops, and is also found in poorly managed pastures and along roadsides. Prolific and staggered seeding makes amsinckia a very competitive weed and heavy infestations can cause large yield losses. Amsinckia seed can contaminate grain, and the bristly flowers can contaminate wool.
  • Bristles on the leaves and stems make the plant unattractive to stock and it is generally unpalatable. At least one species of amsinckia is toxic to stock, causing liver damage and increased sensitivity to light, with cattle, horses and pigs being most susceptible.

What is the legal status of Amsinckia in your area?

  • The legal responsibilities of landholders and other stakeholders in dealing with amsinckia are laid out in the Amsinckia Statutory Weed Management.
  • Use Table 1 (Zone A municipalities) and Table 2 (Zone B municipalities) in the Statutory Weed Management Plan to find out whether your area falls in an eradication or containment zone.
Detailed management and control guidelines for amsinckia can be found in the Amsinckia Control Guide. Refer also to Herbicides for Amsinckia Control. For further information see DPIPWE's Weed Links and Resources.

See also:
Amsinckia Control Guide
Herbicides for Amsinckia Control
Statutory Management Plan for Amsinckia
Weed Links and Resources

Other useful links:
Pest Genie

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