Weeds welcome spring with colour

Spring heralds warmer days, lush green grass and colourful flowers. Many declared weeds are at their most colourful in spring making it a lot easier for landholders to identify and report them.

The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG) have resources available to support landholders in the identification and control of declared weeds.

The declared weeds Paterson’s curse (Echium plantagineum) and Cape tulip (Moraea flaccida) are toxic to livestock and are easily recognisable in spring when flowering.

Paterson's curse germinates over winter, resembling a flat green spinach bunch before developing stems and forming its characteristic purple flowers.

Are you checking on your hay supplier during the growing season? Are you checking for toxic weeds?

Cape tulip grows one or two long green stems from a corm over winter and develops an orange flower with a yellow centre.

Vast paddocks covered in purple and orange colours often attract photographers and tourists. This behaviour can frustrate local farmers who recognise them as toxic weeds that threaten local agriculture.

Weeds are often spread by soil disturbance, water or cultivation. The soil in densely infested areas has the capacity to hold thousands of seeds or corms, which makes weeds very easy to spread.

Weed educator, Teele Hooper Worrell, also wants landholders thinking about their hay supply during the spring season.

"The PHBG recommends landholders that feed out hay to take the time to check your paddocks, or those of your supplier, for tell-tale purple or orange flowers," she said.

“Although your horses or cows may not selectively graze on some weeds in a paddock situation, they can ingest them accidentally from hay. Paterson’s curse and Cape tulip still retain their toxicity when dried and incorporated into hay.”

If you notice declared weeds, like Paterson’s curse and Cape tulip, in the Peel Harvey area reports can be forwarded to the PHBG. Reports should include a GPS coordinate, or address details, and a description of the infestation. The Group has equipment, information and expertise available to landholders wanting to control declared weeds on their property.

You can contact the Group about weeds at weeds@phbg.org or 0474 242 223.