Stinking Mayweed

​(Anthemis cotula)

Stinking mayweed

What is stinking mayweed?

  • Stinking mayweed is a weed of poorly managed pastures, annual crops, waste areas and roadsides.
  • Stinking mayweed is a declared weed in Tasmania under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of stinking mayweed are prohibited in Tasmania.

How to identify stinking mayweed

  • Stinking mayweed is an annual winter herb of the daisy family, growing from 20 to 60 cm high. Stinking mayweed has a strong unpleasant odour when crushed and a bitter taste. The stems are erect and densely branched. Stinking mayweed flowers are daisy-like, white with a yellow centre.
  • Germination can occur at any time of year where moisture is available, although most germination occurs in spring and autumn. Flowers open in November and flowering continues until March or April when plants die.
  • For further help in identifying stinking mayweed, search the Dennis Morris Weeds and Endemic Flora database for stinking mayweed illustrations. If you are still in doubt about the weed you are dealing with, contact Biosecurity Tasmania on 03 6165 3777 for help.
Stinking mayweed Stinking mayweed
Images: stinking mayweed flowers and leaves, © DPIPWE.

Stinking mayweed in Tasmania

  • Stinking mayweed is widely distributed in Tasmania, especially in the north and north-west. Smaller populations occur in the south around Hobart.
  • Stinking mayweed tends to occur on heavy soils that have been disturbed. Stinking mayweed is a weed of poorly managed pastures, waste areas and roadsides. The weed has a pungent smell and can also taint agricultural products such as meat and milk.

What is the legal status of stinking mayweed in your area?

  • The legal responsibilities of landholders and other stakeholders in dealing with stinking mayweed are laid out in the stinking mayweed Statutory Weed Management Plan.
  • Use Table 1 (Zone A municipalities) and Table 2 (Zone B municipalities) in the Statutory Weed Management Plan to find out whether your area falls in an eradication or containment zone.
Detailed management and control guidelines for stinking mayweed can be found in the Stinking Mayweed Control Guide. Refer also to Herbicides for Stinking Mayweed Control. For further information see Weed Links and Resources.

See also
Herbicides for Stinking Mayweed Control
Statutory Management Plan for Stinking Mayweed
Weed Links and Resources

Other useful links
Pest Genie

Stinking Mayweed Control Guide


  • Plan your control program, this will save time and money in the long-run;
  • Consider the impact of your control methods on off-target species, especially if herbicides are used;
  • Ensure machinery and equipment is washed down between sites or prior to contractors leaving site;
  • Get in early - For new infestations, eradicate before the plants reach the flowering stage: once plants begin seeding, control becomes more difficult and expensive;
  • Carefully time your use of herbicide for best results (see Herbicides for Stinking Mayweed Control for more information);
  • Coordinate your control program with neighbouring landholders where your weed problem crosses property boundaries;
  • Revisit and regularly inspect the site and ensure follow-up is undertaken;]
  • Use a combination of different control methods; and
  • Establish vigorous pasture (or native species) after removal to reduce re-infestation.


  • Don't introduce stinking mayweed to stinking mayweed free areas(e.g. by failing to wash down machinery and equipment between sites.
  • Don't start your control program without first planning your approach;
  • Don't allow stinking Mayweed to flower and set seed before treatment;
  • Don't rely on one attempt at removal - follow-up is essential to avoid re-infestation;
  • Don't rely on just one control method.

Spread of stinking mayweed

  • Stinking mayweed spreads wholly by seed.
  • Seed is spread as a contaminant in hay, chaff and pasture seed, and in mud sticking to footwear, wool and clothing, and farm and road-grading machinery.
  • Stinking mayweed seed can remain dormant in the soil for up to 25 years.

Avoid the introduction of stinking mayweed

  • Avoid bringing in stinking mayweed seed into clean areas.
  • Machinery and vehicles which have been used on infested areas should be thoroughly cleaned on leaving.
  • Ensure all hay and pasture seed is free of stinking mayweed seed. Avoid using hay and pasture seed from infested areas.
  • See the Washdown Guidelines for Weed and Disease Control for detailed information on how to wash-down equipment and personnel to reduce the chance of spreading stinking mayweed.

Physical removal

  • Remove individual plants in the seedling stage using a hoe. Larger patches will need to be cultivated.


  • Large infestations of stinking mayweed can be controlled by repeated cultivation and cropping.
  • Sow as late as possible and treat any stinking mayweed seedlings in the crop with herbicide.
  • Repeat cultivations as required to kill later germinations of stinking mayweed.

Pasture establishment and grazing

  • Establishing vigorous perennial pasture is an effective means of controlling stinking mayweed.
  • A white clover-perennial ryegrass mixture is recommended for Tasmania.
  • Hoe-out or spot-spray any stinking mayweed seedlings appearing in new-sown pasture.
  • Regulate grazing to maintain a dense pasture sward.

Chemical control

Herbicides for Stinking Mayweed Control

Herbicides for Stinking Mayweed Control

Important Disclaimer
To the extent permitted by law, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania (including its employees and consultants) excludes all liability to any person for any consequences, including but not limited to all losses, damages, costs, expenses and any other compensation, arising directly or indirectly from using information or material (in part or in whole) contained on this website.​