Tobacco Weed

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Elephantopus mollis


This is an aggressive, slender, fast growing herb. Mature plants grow up to 1.5 metres high. The hairy stem is erect and sparsely branched, becoming woody at the base when mature.

Leaves are oval and scattered alternately along the stems and occur mostly at the base. They are 10 to 20 centimetres long and up to 5 centimetres wide. The upper surfaces are rough and hairy and under surfaces are hairy and resinous.

Flowers are small and white (rarely pink) and form in clusters at the tips of the stems and side shoots. Three small leaf-like bracts cup each cluster. It flowers all year round.

Seeds are small, long and brown to greyish-black and have bristle-like hairs on the top.

Habitat it grows in fertile soils needing good rainfall.

Weed characteristics are dense masses of seedlings that can grow through and smother healthy, thick pastures. It is a major threat to beef and dairy industries. The plant is not a nutritious feed for cattle and reduces pasture productivity.

Dispersal seeds are mostly spread by water, in the coats of animals and on machinery. It can also be spread by wind.

Declaration Details

This species is a Class 2 declared plant under Queensland legislation.

How to act

Slashing of thick infestations to promote vegetative growth prior to spraying with a broad leaf selective herbicide can be effective for initial control. Follow up spraying to control emergent seedlings is essential. Ongoing monitoring and follow up control is required due to the large seed bank. Fire can also be effective in the dry season. Good machinery hygiene to prevent further spread is important.

Refer to Weed Control Methods.


Related information

Tobacco Weed © NQ Dry Tropics 2011
Tobacco Weed © NQ Dry Tropics 2011

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