Iva axillaris Pursh
Poverty weed is declared under the Catchment and Land Protection Act (1994) as a State prohibited weed. Poverty weed originated in North America where it is a significant weed of rangelands, cereals, overgrazed pastures, and irrigated crops in Canada and the north-western United States. It has not established on any other continent except Australia. It was first recorded from Newstead in north central Victoria in 1926 and there are currently infestations in northern Victoria.
What are State prohibited weeds?
State prohibited weeds either do not occur in Victoria, or are present and can reasonably be expected to be eradicated. State prohibited weeds are the highest category of noxious weeds under the Catchment and Land Protection Act (1994). The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) is responsible for the eradication of State prohibited weeds. The Victorian Government is committed to preventing the introduction of high-risk weeds into Victoria, to protect our environment, economy and social values.
Why is it a problem?
Poverty weed is a strong competitor, and may be the only plant species present in dense infestations. Chemicals found in both the roots and leaves of the plant inhibit the growth of other plants, while large food reserves in its roots allow new growth to develop in drought conditions. It has a strong smell and taste and is unpalatable to stock. Spread mainly occurs when earth-moving or cultivation equipment drags pieces of root from infested to clean areas.
How to identify poverty weed
A long-lived perennial herb usually about 20 to 30 cm high but can reach 40 cm. It reproduces from both roots and seeds. The top-growth dies off in autumn and re-shoots in spring.
Its leaves are aromatic (when crushed), hairy, grey-green, 10-30 mm long and grow directly from the main stem. Lower leaves are arranged opposite each other; upper leaves are smaller and alternately arranged.
The flower head is greenish yellow (5-7 mm across) nodding on a short stalk at the base of upper leaves and appears in summer.
What should you do if you find poverty weed?
If you think you have seen a poverty weed plant, please contact the DEDJTR by telephoning 136 186.
Please do not attempt to control or dispose of this weed yourself.