Mallee Cockspur

(Centaurea eriophora)

Flower head of mallee cockspur with spiny bracts covered in a cobweb-like covering Flower head of mallee cockspur
with spiny bracts covered in a
cobweb-like covering, © DPIPWE.

Status of mallee cockspur in Tasmania

  • Mallee cockspur is a declared weed in Tasmania under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of mallee cockspur are prohibited in Tasmania.
  • The legal responsibilities of landholders and other stakeholders in dealing with mallee cockspur are laid out in the Mallee Cockspur Weed Management Plan.

What does mallee cockspur look like?

  • Mallee cockspur is a winter-growing annual herb (living for a single year) growing to 1 metre high. The plant initially forms a rosette (a whorl of leaves close to the ground), from which an erect branched flowering stem emerges. The yellow flower heads are borne on the ends of the stems and are surrounded by spiny bracts covered in a dense, cobweb-like covering.
  • Seeds germinate in autumn after rain, and plants can mature and set seed in five months under optimal conditions. Flowers are produced in spring and summer.
  • Spread is by seed. Most seed falls near the parent plant but some spread occurs as the shed seed is blown about by the wind. The seeds also have an oil-containing appendage (called an elaisome) which attracts ants, and ants may be important in seed spread.

Impacts of mallee cockspur

  • Mallee cockspur is a serious weed of tropical wetlands.

Where does mallee cockspur occur?

  • Mallee cockspur is a native of Europe and North Africa. Mallee cockspur has naturalised at one location in South Australia at Cambrai.
  • Mallee cockspur has not naturalised in Tasmania.

What you need to do

  • If you locate mallee cockspur anywhere in Tasmania, or if you find a plant that you think could be mallee cockspur, immediately contact Biosecurity Tasmania on 03 6165 3777 to report this weed.

See also
Mallee Cockspur Weed Management Plan
Weed Links and Resources

Other useful links
Pest Genie

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