Gomphocarpus fruticosus (L.) W.T.Aiton Narrowleaf Cottonbush
Hort.Kew. edn 2, 2:80 (1811)

Conservation Code: Not threatened
Naturalised Status: Alien to Western Australia
Name Status: Current

Brief Description
Grazyna Paczkowska, Monday 28 October 1996

Erect perennial, herb or shrub, 0.5-1.5 m high. Fl. white/cream, Feb to Jul. Disturbed sites.

Distribution

Beard’s Provinces: Eremaean Province, South-West Province.

IBRA Regions: Avon Wheatbelt, Esperance Plains, Jarrah Forest, Mallee, Nullarbor, Swan Coastal Plain.

IBRA Subregions: Avon Wheatbelt P1, Central band, Nullarbor Plain, Dandaragan Plateau, Fitzgerald, Northern Jarrah Forest, Perth, Recherche, Southern Jarrah Forest, Western Mallee.

IMCRA Regions: Leeuwin-Naturaliste, WA South Coast.

Local Government Areas (LGAs): Albany, Armadale, Bayswater, Busselton, Cockburn, Collie, Dardanup, Donnybrook-Balingup, Esperance, Gingin, Gosnells, Harvey, Kalamunda, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Lake Grace, Mundaring, Murray, Perth, Ravensthorpe, Rockingham, Serpentine-Jarrahdale, Stirling, Tammin, Wanneroo, Waroona.

Management Notes (for the Swan NRM Region)
Kate Brown and Karen Bettink, Thursday 8 September 2016

General Biology. Growth form. Shrub. Reproduction. Seed, root suckers. Dispersal. Wind, water, soil movement. Time to first flowering. 2 years. Toxicity. Can be toxic to livestock. All parts of the plant are poisonous and sap is a skin irritant. Vegetative regeneration strategy. Resprouts and produces root suckers. Seedbank persistence. Long, 5+ years. Fire response. Hot fire will kill mature plants and can destroy soil stored seed.

Notes. Host plant of the larvae of the lesser wanderer butterfly, Danaus chrysippus petilia. Capable of forming dense thickets. Seedlings develop the ability to resprout from the root or crown if aerial growth is injured within a few weeks of germination. Can move into undisturbed native vegetation. Has allelopathic properties.

Additional information. Origin. Southern Africa. History of use/introduction. Garden escape. Similar exotic species. Asclepias curassavica, Gomphocarpus physocarpus.

Suggested method of management and control. Hand pull small plants, ensuring removal of as much root material as possible. Hand removing plants with mature fruits can lead to realease and rapid spread of wind dispered seed. Foliar spray with 1.5% glyphosate or try cut and paint using 50% glyphosate. 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.

Management Calendar

Calendar Type Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Comments
Flowering Y Y Y O       O O O Y Y  
Fruiting O Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y O  
Germination O O Y Y O O O O O O Y Y any time after rain
Active Growth O Y Y Y O       O Y Y O  
Optimum Treatment O O O O O O O O Y Y Y Y hand remove before fruit set
                           

Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.

 

References

  • Brown, K. & Brooks, K. (2002) Bushland Weeds: A Practical Guide to their Management. Environmental Weeds Action Network, Greenwood.
  • Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Dodd, J., Lloyd, S.G. & Cousens, R.D. (2007) Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. 2nd Edition. The Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Victoria Park.
  • Moore, J.H. & Wheeler, J. (2008) Southern weeds and their control. DAFWA Bulletin 4744.
  • Navie, S. & Adkins, S. (2008) Environmental Weeds of Australia, An interactive identification and information resource for over 1000 invasive plants. Centre for Biological Information Technology, The University of Queensland.
  • Parsons, W.T. & Cuthbertson, E.G. (2001) Noxious weeds of Australia. 2nd Edition. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.
  • Richardson, F.J., Richardson, R.G. & Shepard, R.C.H. (2006) Weeds of the Southeast. An identification guide for Australia. R.G and F.G. Richardson, Meredith.
  • Shepherd, R.C.H. (2004) Pretty but Poisonous. Plants Poisonous to People. An llustrated Guide for Australia. R.G. and F.J. Richardson, Melbourne.

Project information and acknowledgements