Image: Witchweed, © Marco Schmidt.
Status of witchweed in Tasmania
- Witchweed is a declared weed in Tasmania under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of witchweed are prohibited in Tasmania.
- The legal responsibilities of landholders and other stakeholders in dealing with witchweed are laid out in the witchweed Statutory Weed Management Plan.
What does witchweed look like?
are yellowish-green annual herbs growing to 30 cm high. Witchweeds are
parasitic plants that penetrate the roots of host plants and extract
water and nutrients. The stiff branching stems are covered with coarse
short hairs. The leaves are linear-shaped. Flowering is in
summer/autumn. The flowers vary in colour from red to white, and the
seeds are dust-like and long-lived. The roots of witchweed are a thick
tuft, most of which is attached to the roots of the host plant.
germination, witchweeds send out an infection peg that penetrates the
root of a host plant. The host plant is severely weakened by the
parasitic witchweed withdrawing water and nutrients.
produce enormous amounts of seed, with 400 to 500 seeds contained in a
single seed capsule. Seed is spread during cultivation, on machinery,
tools and people, and as contaminants of crop seed.
Impacts of witchweed
- Witchweed is one of the world's most serious crop weeds, particularly in Africa, and can reduce yields by 95 to 100%.
Where does witchweed occur?
- Witchweed are native to tropical Africa and Asia.
- There are no naturalised populations of witchweed in Australia.
What you need to do
- If you locate
witchweed anywhere in Tasmania, or if you find a plant that you think
could be witchweed, immediately contact Biosecurity Tasmania on 03 6165 3777 to report this weed.
Witchweed Statutory Weed Management Plan
Weed Links and Resources
Other useful links