Home gardeners and horticultural and hay producers have been asked to look out for the parasitic weed golden dodder after it was found growing in a Perth suburban garden.
The WA Department of Agriculture and Food recently received a report from a gardener that the destructive weed had appeared among seedlings several months after they were purchased from a gardening centre and planted in the garden.
Department biosecurity research officer Sandy Lloyd said it was likely the golden dodder seeds had arrived with the purchased seedlings.
“Golden dodder obtains all of its nourishment from host plants, of which there are known to be more than 90 different species,” Ms Lloyd said.
“The plant threatens agriculture by severely reducing the yield of crops it infests – golden dodder mainly parasitises lucerne, and it attacks several horticultural crops and legumes.
“It also affects a range of ornamental plants and herbs, preferring fast-growing annual hosts.
“The seeds of golden dodder can survive for up to five years in soil until conditions are favourable for germination – the plant grows best in areas with high rainfall and commonly appears under irrigation.”
Golden dodder has smooth, thread-like stems about one millimetre thick, and it’s also known as ‘angel’s hair’ because of its appearance. The stems twine around host plants and are usually coloured orange-yellow.
The flowers are about three millimetres wide, ball shaped, and creamy white or pink.
Ms Lloyd asked residents in Perth and regional areas look out for golden dodder and other unusual weeds and report them to the Department via the Pest and Disease Information Service on freecall 1800 084 881 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Suspect weeds can also be reported by using the MyWeedWatcher mobile device app which has an identification guide and a reporting feature, and allows users to add images,” she said.
MyWeedWatcher is available to download free from the App Store and Google Play.
People who don’t have a mobile device can report weeds using MyWeedWatcher online.
The MyWeedWatcher app was developed by the Department’s Boosting Biosecurity Defences project, supported by Royalties for Regions.