Look out for alligator weed!
6 March 2018
A new infestation of alligator weed has recently been discovered in a waterway in Rowville.
Alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) is considered one of the worst noxious weeds in Australia and is declared as a State prohibited weed in Victoria, where it is managed with the aim of eradicating it from the State.
Victorians are being encouraged to become familiar with alligator weed and if they see any, to report it to Agriculture Victoria immediately.
It is highly invasive, growing both in water and on land, where it can have detrimental impacts to agriculture and the environment. It reproduces from stem fragments which can break off during treatment or disturbance and spread via machinery such as mowers or downstream with flowing water.
Alligator weed has been recorded in both waterways and in backyards around Melbourne, predominantly in the South Eastern and North Eastern suburbs, but also occasionally in regional Victoria.
It is illegal to buy, sell, transport or propagate alligator weed, which looks similar to other plants and has often been mistaken for the vegetable, mukunuwenna or sessile joy weed.
Alligator weed has bright green, spear shaped leaves, which grow in opposite pairs along a hollow stem. The flowers are papery and ball shaped, silvery-white and grow on individual stalks. The roots grow from joints in the stem. In comparison, the leaves of mukunuwenna are smaller and the flowers grow directly on the stem, not on a stalk like on alligator weed.
Leading Biosecurity Officer at Agriculture Victoria, Darryl Clune said it was important that people report any suspected alligator weed infestations, whether in a waterway or in their backyard, and that nobody attempts to treat or dispose of it themselves.
"The weed's persistent nature means Agriculture Victoria is continuing to manage alligator weed through an eradication program where staff regularly undertake property inspections and administer treatments," Mr Clune said.
"We treat or remove and dispose of alligator weed safely, at no cost to the landholder, to prevent it from spreading further," he said.
To report suspect cases of alligator weed please call Agriculture Victoria on 136 186. More information is also available at agriculture.vic.gov.au.
Categorised under: Agriculture,Biosecurity