Onion Weed

What is onion weed?

(Asphodelus fistulosus)

Onion Weed - flowering plantGeneric Weed Distribution Map

  • Onion weed is a pasture weed.
  • Onion weed is a declared weed in Tasmania under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of onion weed are prohibited in Tasmania.

How to identify onion weed

  • Onion weed is an erect, clump-forming herb that grows to 75 cm high. The roots are fibrous, thick and yellow. The stems are rigid and hollow, while the leaves all emerge from the base of the plant and are almost cylindrical in cross section. The white or pink flowers are arranged alternately along the flowering stems which are longer than the leaves. The fruit is a globular, wrinkled capsule.
  • Seeds germinate at all times but mainly in late summer and autumn. After flowering and fruiting in spring and summer the flowering stems die back but most leaves remain alive through summer. New leaves and stems are produced from the base of the plant in the autumn.
  • For help in identifying onion weed, search the Dennis Morris Weeds and Endemic Flora database for onion weed 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.
Onion weed - close up of a flower
Image top: Onion weed flowering
Image above: Close-up of onion weed flower

Onion weed in Tasmania

  • Onion weed occurs as an occasional weed on King Island, Flinders Island and around Hobart (see map).
  • Onion weed can invade disturbed land such as roadsides, degraded pastures, neglected areas and sandy coastal environments. Onion weed infestations can reach high densities. The weed is unpalatable and can significantly reduce pasture carrying capacity.

What is the legal status of onion weed in your area?

Detailed management and control guidelines for onion weed can be found in the Onion Weed Control Guide. Refer also to Herbicides for Onion Weed Control. For further information see DPIPWE's Weed Links and Resources

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

Other useful links
Pest Genie

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