Parthenium weed can cause respiratory problems in humans and animals.
Parthenium weed can cause respiratory problems in humans and animals. Rous County Council

Invasive weed found on the Northern Rivers for first time

AN INVASIVE weed that can cause severe health reactions in humans and animals has been discovered for the first time on the Northern Rivers.

Rous County Council Weed Biosecurity Officers have uncovered an outbreak of parthenium weed on a rural property in Tweed Shire for the first time in history for this region.

If you see parthenium weed contact Rous County Council immediately and take measures to prevent the spread and outbreaks of the weed. PHOTO: Supplied
If you see parthenium weed contact Rous County Council immediately and take measures to prevent the spread and outbreaks of the weed. PHOTO: Supplied

Parthenium weed (Parthenium hysterophorus), a native of the Caribbean region, is both highly invasive to the natural and agricultural environment and is known to cause severe health reactions in humans and livestock.

The source of infestation is suspected to have come from a contaminated batch of chicken feed.

The council officers had been conducting targeted work in the at risk area to raise awareness of the weed.

Once the property owner was made aware of parthenium on the property, it was reported immediately and weed biosecurity officers were able to remove the plant and treat any seedlings.

Weed Biosecurity and Bush Regeneration manager, Rhett Patrick said: "We appreciate how cooperative the landowner has been and urge others to jump on the Rous website and look up how to identify and report prohibited matter species like parthenium."

Parthenium was endemic in parts of central Queensland and was slowly spreading to southern parts of Queensland.

However, until now it has never been reported on the Northern Rivers, making it a significant biosecurity risk. Small outbreaks have occurred in other parts of the state, mainly from contaminated fodder and machinery.

"We are lucky to catch this outbreak when we did as it spreads rapidly in these conditions," Mr Patrick said. "Ecoclimatic index modelling published in the New South Wales Parthenium Strategy shows that this region is highly vulnerable to Parthenium weed incursions. Without the assistance of landholders to help identify outbreaks, it is only a matter of time before this situation happens again".

WARNING: Parthenium can cause respiratory and other health issues, it's advised you exercise extreme caution if you suspect it is on your property. Report immediately, move all livestock away from that area and do not attempt to remove any plants yourself.


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