The spread of an invasive agricultural and environmental weed has been prevented in Western Australia by an observant bushwalker, who noticed Noogoora burr in the Joondalup Nature Reserve.
The declared weed was reported to the WA Department of Agriculture and Food and subsequently removed by City of Joondalup staff.
WA Department biosecurity research officer Sandy Lloyd said the Noogoora burr find was significant, because the invasive weed had the potential to significantly impact agricultural industries.
“Young seedlings are poisonous to livestock and established weeds can cause significant reductions in crop and pasture production, while the plant’s burrs can contaminate wool, considerably reducing its potential market price,” Ms Lloyd said.
“The burrs, which carry seeds, are capable of floating on water, enabling the weed to spread quickly along riverbanks and waterbodies. Burrs can also spread by becoming attached to livestock and bushwalkers’ clothing and footwear.”
Only female Noogoora plants form burrs, which develop on short stalks at the base of the leaf and end of the main stem. Burrs are green when new and turn brown when ripe. Each burr is covered with hooked spines and horn-like projections at the tip.
Ms Lloyd encouraged people to report Noogoora burr and other unusual weeds to the department to help protect WA’s agriculture and food sector.
Declared plants and other weeds are easy to identify, survey and report using the MyWeedWatcher mobile device app, developed by the department’s Boosting Biosecurity Defences project’s Agricultural weed surveillance activity.
MyWeedWatcher is available to download free from the App Store and Google Play.
The app’s identification guide allows users to search for a weed according to plant’s characteristics, such as flower colour, leaf shape, and plant type.
The reporting feature enables users to map weeds, add images and record data, such as weed density, weed count and confidence of identification.
The WA Department’s Boosting Biosecurity Defences project is supported by the WA Government’s Royalties for Regions program.