Wednesday December 13, 2017

Dangerous weed in our midst

Parthenium (Parthenium hysterophorus)

Parthenium is an alien invasive weed from the American Tropics which is now invading Mpumalanga and spreading at an alarming rate, even into the Kruger National Park. 

 It has dangerous consequences as it can seriously effect crop production, food for game (and consequently tourism) and the health of humans and animals, especially those with suppressed immunity. The pollen of Parthenium emits allergens which cause hay fever, asthma, allergies and dermatitis and it releases phytotoxic compounds from its roots and decaying plants which allow it to suppress other plants.  It also produces 10 000 seeds per plant which can remain in the soil and still germinate after 20 years.

To control:  Hand-pulling, preferably before flowering but protective clothing, goggles and gloves must be worn and the plant matter burnt. Spray with solution of 1 kg sea salt:1 L washing soap(or soap oil):10 L water (per article in Wikipedia) directly on to Parthenium weed only. Our long-term solution will be bio-control but the agents work slowly and we will have to apply herbicide and hand-pull as well, for many years to come.


Joce Gordon 082 306 5133

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