Giant Sensitive Plant
This is a shrubby or sprawling annual that can behave as a perennial. Stems are bunching, 4 angled and often scrambling over other plants. The angles usually have a line of sharp, hooked prickles.
Leaves are arranged on alternate areas of the stem. They are bright green and feathery, with each leaf divided into 5 to 7 pairs of segments. Each segment carries about 20 pairs of very small leaflets which close up when disturbed, injured, or at nightfall.
Flowers are very small pale pink, round, fluffy balls about 12 millimetres across, on short stalks in the leaf joints. Numerous pods are clustered, each about 25 millimetres long and 6 millimetres broad when ripe. Clothed with small prickles, these later break into 4 or 5 one seeded pieces. It flowers from April to the end of June.
Habitat in horticultural and grazing areas
Weed characteristics will choke out cane, other crops and grassland, causing loss of crop and pasture production.
Dispersal seeds have been known to lie dormant for up to 50 years.
This species is a Class 2 declared plant under Queensland legislation.
How to act
Slashing is effective in controlling seedlings and small shrubs. Foliar spraying is effective at controlling and reducing populations. An introduced biological control called GSP psyllid (Heteropsylla spinulosa) is also available. Fire can be used to stimulate the seed bank for further control.
Refer to Weed Control Methods.
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