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Prostrate annual, herb. Fl. green, Jan to Dec. Sand, loam or clay. Disturbed areas, weed of cereals, road verges.
Alternative Names. Three-cornered Jack, Spiny Emex.
General Biology. Growth form. Herb. Life form. Annual. Reproduction. Seed. Dispersal. Tyres, water, machinery, soil movement. Toxicity. Contains oxalates suspected of poisoning stock. Seedbank persistence. 4+ years.
Notes. Can set seed and produce fruit within 1 month of germination. Germination generally follows seasonal rainfall patterns. Seed buried down to 1cm will germinate; deeper burial inhibits germination. Has a thick tap root. Sharp spines of fruit can injure animals, damage tyres and restrict the use of recreation areas. Is a relatively weak competitior whose impact can be reduced by maintaining vegetation cover. A biological control program in Australia led to reductions in seed produced.
Additional information. Origin. Southern Africa. History of use/introduction. Originally imported as a vegetable. Similar exotic species. Emex spinosa.
Suggested method of management and control. Any control program must aim at killing all plants shortly after emergence and should continue for a number of years. Herbicides will give poor results applied to plants with more than 12 leaves at the time of spraying. Spot spray plants with 1% Grazon® or glyphosate at 0.5-0.7% to kill existing plants. Alternatively wipe actively growing plants with 50% glyphosate. Bare soil can quickly become reinvaded. Read the manufacturers' labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. For further information consult the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to determine the status of permits for your situation or state.
Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.
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Western Australian Herbarium (1998–). FloraBase—the Western Australian Flora. Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/