Watch Out for Wicked Weeds

Cessnock City Council is asking the community to report unusual plants for identification to help stop the spread of weeds.
Cessnock City Council is asking the community to report unusual plants for identification to help stop the spread of weeds.  

Recently, Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia diversifolia) plants were discovered in the local area. 

This species which has naturalised itself in South East Queensland and Northern NSW is an environmental weed that needs to be controlled so this does not occur in our area.

Native to eastern Mexico and Central America the Mexican Sunflower is a pioneering weed that grows quickly. It can grow in cropland and also form dense infestations in areas of native vegetation having a negative impact on biodiversity and agricultural land.   

Mexican Sunflower is a robust perennial plant that reaches up to 4m tall.

It has large daisy-like flowers that grow in small groups at the ends of long leafy branches.

The flowers are 5-15 cm wide and look like sunflowers, but have yellow centres (not black/grey centres like other sunflower species).   

This plant is a prolific seeder and the seeds are retained until the plant dries in the dry season. The seeds are then spread easily by wind, water and the movement of people, livestock and vehicles.  

The Mexican Sunflower is very invasive and its dense infestations can also stop young native plants from growing.   

As part of the Regional Weed Action Program ongoing inspections help detect new weed incursions.

Finding and controlling new incursions before they seed significantly reduces future problems. The best form of invasive species management is prevention.

For more information or to report a suspicious plant visit: http://www.cessnock.nsw.gov.au/environment/weeds or http://www.huntercentralcoastweeds.com.au/