Ageratina adenophora (Croftonweed)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Biology and Ecology
- Soil Tolerances
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Vectors
- Plant Trade
- Wood Packaging
- Impact Summary
- Environmental Impact
- Impact: Biodiversity
- Threatened Species
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Ageratina adenophora (Spreng.) R.M. King & H. Rob.
Preferred Common Name
Other Scientific Names
- Eupatorium adenophorum Spreng. (1826)
- Eupatorium glandulosum Kunth
- Eupatorium pasdadense Parish
International Common Names
- English: Crofton weed; sticky eupatorium
Local Common Names
- : pamakani
- Australia: catweed; hemp agrimony; Mexican devil; sticky agrimony
- India: cypress weed
- New Zealand: catweed; hemp agrimony; Mexican devil
- USA: sticky agrimony; sticky snakeroot
- USA/Hawaii: Maui pamakani
- EUPAD (Ageratina adenophora)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
A. adenophora has proved to be a very aggressive invasive species in some parts of the world, notably Australia, where it forced some farmers to abandon their land in the 1950s. Its spread is restricted there now due to adequate legislation and control measures. It is, however, still spreading in other parts of the world such as China, and due to its potential introduction as a seed contaminant and potential impacts, it must be considered as a high risk species meriting further attention. It is known to be invasive in Kenya and is also present in Uganda. Control is possible, although difficult, and biological control has been attempted and proved at least partially successful.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Asterales
- Family: Asteraceae
- Genus: Ageratina
- Species: Ageratina adenophora
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page Ageratina combines the genus Ageratum with the suffix 'ina', meaning 'pertaining to', suggesting that the two genera are related; 'adenophora' is a combination of the Greek 'aden' (a gland), and 'phoros' (meaning 'bearing') which refers to the oil-producing glands in the leaves. The most common vernacular name in English is Crofton weed, named after a councillor in Lismore Shire, New South Wales, Australia, in the 1920s, when the species first became identified as an invasive weed. Apparently, the plant was introduced to the area as an ornamental from Sydney by one of his neighbours and spread rapidly onto his property (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992). This species is still quite widely referred to as Eupatorium adenophorum.
It is not, however, to be confused with Eupatorium trapezoideum Kunth (=Ageratina trapezoides (Kunth) R.M. King & H. Rob.) though it is synonymized as such in CAB Abstracts. A. trapezoides is a native to Nepal, northern India and neighbouring areas, and valued as a medicinal and green manure plant (common name 'banmara'). The use of this species epithet is common, especially in Asian populations; further work is, however, required in order to elucidate the exact relationship between these populations and those of A. adenophora sensu stricto, native to central Mexico. Also, in northern India there has been reference to 'Eupatorium (Chromolaena adenophorum L.)' (Saini, 2002) which is thought to represent A. adenophora, though this again highlights the need for further taxonomical studies, especially in this region.
DescriptionTop of page A many stemmed, perennial herb 1-2 m high, reproducing by seed and vegetatively from a short, pale, yellow rootstock. The following description is taken from Parsons and Cuthbertson (1992). Stems are purplish, numerous, erect, smooth, cylindrical; shortly branched towards the apex, 1-2 m long, occasionally longer; glandular, hairy at first but becoming woody with age and rooting at the nodes if damaged. Stems arise from a short, thick, pale-yellow rootstock with a carrot-like odour when broken, giving rise to numerous branching secondary roots extending laterally to a radius of 1 m and downwards to 40 cm; adventitious roots may form on the first 3 cm of stem. Leaves dark green; opposite, broadly trowel-shaped, 5-8 cm long, (2.5-)3-7.5 cm wide, with serrated edges, tapering towards the apex and narrowing abruptly at the base into a slender stalk 2-4 cm long; 3-nerved, glabrous or slightly pubescent, toothed along the apical margins. Petioles are brown. Flowers comprise 50 to 70 white, tubular florets about 3.5 mm long; grouped into heads 5-6 mm diameter within a row of green bracts and arranged in flat clusters up to 10 cm across at the end of the branches. Seeds are dark brown to black, slender, angular, 1.5-2 mm long; topped by a pappus of 5 to 10 fine white hairs approximately 4 mm long.
Plant TypeTop of page Broadleaved
DistributionTop of page The native range of A. adenophora is restricted to central Mexico, in the states of Colima, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Mexico D.F., Michoacan, Morelos, Oaxaca, Puebla and Queretaro (USDA-ARS, 2004). It may now be more widespread than this. As an introduced species, it is likely to be more widespread than indicated in this distribution list, especially in China, South and South-East Asia.
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Brunei Darussalam||Present||Introduced||Waterhouse, 1993|
|China||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Yunnan||Present||Introduced||He and Liang, 1988|
|India||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Holm et al., 1991; Trounce and Dyason, 2003|
|Philippines||Restricted distribution||Introduced||Invasive||Holm et al., 1991; Waterhouse, 1993; EPPO, 2014|
|Sri Lanka||Present||Introduced||Holm et al., 1991; Trounce and Dyason, 2003|
|Taiwan||Present||Introduced||Peng et al., 1998|
|Thailand||Restricted distribution||Introduced||Invasive||Holm et al., 1991; Waterhouse, 1993; EPPO, 2014|
|Kenya||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Blundell, 1992; Witt and Luke, 2017|
|Nigeria||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Holm et al., 1991|
|South Africa||Present||Introduced||Wells et al., 1986|
|-Canary Islands||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2003; Trounce and Dyason, 2003|
|Uganda||Present||Witt and Luke, 2017|
|USA||Restricted distribution||Introduced||Invasive||USDA-ARS, 2004; EPPO, 2014|
|-Hawaii||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Holm et al., 1991; USDA-ARS, 2004; EPPO, 2014|
Central America and Caribbean
|Jamaica||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Trounce and Dyason, 2003|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Restricted distribution||Introduced||Holm et al., 1991; EPPO, 2014|
|France||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Corsica||Restricted distribution||Introduced||Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2003|
|Greece||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Crete||Restricted distribution||Introduced||Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2003|
|Italy||Present||Introduced||Guacchio Edel, 2013|
|Portugal||Present||Introduced||Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2003|
|-Azores||Present||Introduced||Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2003|
|-Madeira||Present||Introduced||Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2003|
|-Portugal (mainland)||Present||Introduced||Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2003|
|Spain||Present||Introduced||Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2003|
|-Spain (mainland)||Present||Introduced||Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2003|
|Australia||Restricted distribution||Introduced||Invasive||USDA-ARS, 2004; EPPO, 2014|
|-New South Wales||Restricted distribution||Introduced||Invasive||Holm et al., 1991; Lazarides et al., 1997|
|-Queensland||Restricted distribution||Introduced||Invasive||Holm et al., 1991; Lazarides et al., 1997|
|-South Australia||Restricted distribution||Introduced||Invasive||Holm et al., 1991; Lazarides et al., 1997|
|Fiji||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Trounce and Dyason, 2003|
|New Zealand||Restricted distribution||Introduced||Invasive||Holm et al., 1991; USDA-ARS, 2004; EPPO, 2014|
|Papua New Guinea||Restricted distribution||Introduced||Invasive||Holm et al., 1991; EPPO, 2014|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page Introduced intentionally to many parts of the world as an ornamental during the 1800s, this native of Central America is now naturalized and widely established as a serious weed in many tropical and sub-tropical areas, especially north-eastern and southern India between sea level and 2000 m, also Nigeria, South-East Asia, Pacific Islands, New Zealand and Australia.
In Australia, it was introduced as an ornamental species to the north coast of New South Wales around 1900 (Trounce and Dyason, 2003) and soon colonized much of the newly cleared lands on both sides of the border between New South Wales and Queensland, where in 1930 it was recorded as naturalized on the Springbrook plateau above the Tweed Valley. It spread slowly over the next 10 years but became more aggressive between 1940 and 1950. Then, because of drought, a shortage of fertilizer and overgrazing, A. adenophora suddenly proliferated, overrunning large areas of dairy pastures and horticultural land on both sides of the border. It spread so fast that in some areas dairy farmers and banana growers abandoned their holdings (Auld, 1969, 1970; Holm et al., 1991; Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992). It has been present in the Sydney area since approximately 1970 (Trounce and Dyason, 2003).
In Australia, Crofton weed is currently almost wholly restricted to the coastal strip from Sydney northward to the Mary River, Queensland, where the major infestations occur in the mountain valleys and adjacent tablelands, straddling the border between the two states. However, as it has been cultivated as an ornamental in most mainland states, it has become naturalized in and close to some urban areas, particularly suburban Adelaide and along the Murray River in South Australia (Auld, 1969, 1970; Holm et al., 1991; Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992). However, whether due to the effects of quarantine, declaration as a weed or to other reasons, Australia's Virtual Herbarium (Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, 2004) still only records it as present in New South Wales and Queensland, rare in South Australia and absent elsewhere in the country.
The means of introduction into Pacific islands, mainland USA and Europe are unknown, but it appears that this weed may be spreading and is likely to be found elsewhere. In Europe it is restricted to Mediterranean regions, and even within these, to those with warmer climates, such as Atlantic and Mediterranean islands. Peng et al. (1998) noted it as then 'newly naturalized' to Taiwan and there is increasing concern in parts of China rergarding its recent spread.
Risk of IntroductionTop of page A. adenophora is a regulated weed in some parts of the world, notably Australia (New South Wales and Queensland) and the USA (Florida, Hawaii) and others. It is a declared noxious weed or Class A noxious plant in a number of US states where it is not yet present (USDA-ARS, 2004), indicating its potential risks and impacts, and desire for it not to be introduced. Risks of introduction are high, as seeds may be a contaminant in a variety of traded products included cereal, stockfeeds, forage seeds, soil, sand and gravel, and may also be imported in mud attached to vehicles, agricultural machinery, livestock or humans themselves.
HabitatTop of page A. adenophora is principally a weed of pastures, in warm, moist, frost-free regions. It has been an special problem in overgrazed or otherwise poorly managed grazing land in Australia, where it is known to also invade natural forests, forest margins (including rainforests), roadsides (Land Protection, 2004), railway embankments, nature reserves and national parks, roadsides and waste areas, ungrazed smallholdings, cleared land, fencelines and abandoned banana plantations (Trounce and Dyason, 2003).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial – Managed||Cultivated / agricultural land||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Managed forests, plantations and orchards||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Managed grasslands (grazing systems)||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Disturbed areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Rail / roadsides||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-natural||Natural forests||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Natural grasslands||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Riverbanks||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Wetlands||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Deserts||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page The principal hosts of A. adenophora are pastures species. It has also been recorded as a weed of bananas, and occasionally other perennial crops such as passionfruit vines and avocado orchards.
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
Biology and EcologyTop of page Genetics
Little is known and even less is published regarding the genetics and evolutionary origin and affinities of A. adenophora. Further research, especially on the affinities within this genus and closely related ones may reveal interesting insights into the biology of the species for possible use in its control and management.
Physiology and Phenology
In Australia, seeds germinate in the light any time between December and September, with peak germination (>80% of viable seeds) in February and March. Seedlings grow rapidly and are fully established and able to regenerate from the crown, if damaged, within 8 weeks of germination. In second year and older plants, new growth begins with the first major summer rains, usually in January. The growth rate of seedlings and mature plants remains high during summer but tapers off in the cooler winter months. Buds appear in late winter and flowering begins in September. Seeds mature and are shed between October and mid-January, the lower leaves of the plant dropping after seed fall. For further information on the biology of A. adenophora, refer to Auld and Martin (1975) and Auld (1977). Once established, seedlings tolerate shade and can grow rapidly, and occasional plants are able to develop into substantial infestations.
A. adenophora appears to prefer mild, moist, sub-humid climates for optimal growth. Although native to central Mexico, noting its absence from areas receiving winter frosts in its introduced range, it is likely to be native to low altitude areas in Mexico because higher altitudes are known to receive frosts during winter. In Europe it is restricted to frost-free regions in the Mediterranean basin and Atlantic islands. Moist south-facing slopes are preferred in Queensland, Australia (Land Protection, 2004), though it does not appear to be restricted to such areas.
There does not appear to be any specific preference for soil types, with A. adenophora apparently able to grow on dry sands as well as wetland clay soils. It can tolerate some salinity and infertility.
Soil TolerancesTop of page
- seasonally waterlogged
Special soil tolerances
Natural enemiesTop of page
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page Natural enemies were surveyed in the native range of the weed in Mexico by Osborne (1924) who drew attention to organisms of possible value as biological control agents. He found a range of insects including a tephritid gall fly, a lepidopteran stem borer and a curculionid feeding on the shoot tips. Two diseases were noted but not studied. The tephritid was later identified as Procecidochares utilis and has been widely introduced as a biological control agent but in most countries where it has become established it is heavily parasitized by native parasitoids and has had little impact. A leaf spot disease, specific to A. adenophora, has been inadvertently introduced along with the gall fly but does little damage. It appears in the literature as Cercospora eupatorii and Mycovelosiella eupatorii-odorati or Phaeoramularia eupatorii-odorati but both of these were described from Chromolaena odorata and so, because the fungus is host-specific, the identification is not correct and it is best referred to a Mycovelosiella sp. for the time being (HC Evans, CABI Bioscience, Egham, UK, personal communication). Outside its native range in Mexico, the only promising natural enemy reported is the native Australian crown-boring weevil, Dihammus argentatus.
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)
Spread of A. adenophora is principally by seed, which is adapted for dispersal by both wind and water due to the feathery hairs of its pappus.
It is possible that seeds could attach to the hair, skin or feathers of animals with mud thus facilitating their spread. This could be a major means of dispersal when moving livestock from infested to clear pastures during wet weather in the seed-setting periods.
Local extension of colonies and an increase in plant density can occur when bent and broken stems take root where they contact the soil, or when pieces of root have a portion of the crown attached. These can be easily moved during cultivation. The seeds can also attach themselves, often in mud, to clothes (of agricultural workers as well as tourists, hikers, etc.) and especially to farm machinery. Seeds may also contaminate stockfeed.
An important means of spread of A. adenophora is movement as an impurity in agricultural produce, mainly cereals, forage and other seeds, also in sand and gravel used for road making, soil, and in mud sticking to animals, machinery and other vehicles, as well as to footwear and clothing. These multiple means of introduction mean that many pathways are possible for the accidental importation of A. adenophora seed.
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility of pest or symptoms|
|Growing medium accompanying plants||seeds||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|Leaves||seeds||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|True seeds (inc. grain)||seeds||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport|
|Fruits (inc. pods)|
|Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches|
Wood PackagingTop of page
|Wood Packaging not known to carry the pest in trade/transport|
|Loose wood packing material|
|Processed or treated wood|
|Solid wood packing material with bark|
|Solid wood packing material without bark|
Impact SummaryTop of page
|Fisheries / aquaculture||None|
ImpactTop of page Crofton weed reduces crop yield, affects the carrying capacity of grazing lands and restricts movement of stock and machinery. The invasion of land in Australia in the 1940s and 1950s was so rapid and so severe that it even led to some farmers abandoning their landholdings. It has also invaded managed kikuyu pastures [Pennisetum clandestinum] in Queensland, Australia (Land Protection, 2004).
Cattle find it unpalatable, sheep and goats eat it without apparent ill effect if other pasture is present, but horses, eating it readily, die as a result. This horse disease, an important impact of A. adenophora, is known in Australia as 'Numimbah horse sickness' in New South Wales and 'Tallebudgera horse disease' in Queensland (Land Protection, 2004), and as 'blowing disease' in Hawaii, USA. It may take several years to become evident but is always fatal. The symptoms are coughing, difficult breathing and violent blowing after exertion, and are the result of acute oedema (swelling) of the lungs, leading to haemorrhaging. The liver can also be affected, but death from respiratory failure is the eventual result. Affected horses may collapse and die suddenly during work (Trounce and Dyason, 2003). No method of preventing horse losses is known other than denying access (Land Protection, 2004), because A. adenophora is particularly palatable to horses even though it is poisonous.
The poisonous principle is unknown but feeding tests suggest that it is present only in flowering plants, though it also noted as poisonous just prior to flowering (Trounce and Dyason, 2003). Because the occurrence of pulmonary lesions is not reduced when pollen inhalation is prevented, systemic toxicity appears to be a response to inhalation (Auld, 1970, 1977).
Environmental ImpactTop of page Such serious, if localized, invasion is likely to have environmental effects, though very little impact is recorded.
Impact: BiodiversityTop of page A. adenophora is able to displace native plant species by competition, especially in Australia, because it forms dense monospecific stands in serious infestations. Long-term effects upon community structure and ecological processes have been inadequately studied.
Threatened SpeciesTop of page
|Threatened Species||Conservation Status||Where Threatened||Mechanism||References||Notes|
|Nototrichium humile (kaala rockwort)||EN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||Hawaii||Competition - monopolizing resources||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2008a|
|Peristylus holochila (Hawai'i bog orchid)||CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||Hawaii||Competition (unspecified)||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009a|
|Phyllostegia mollis (Waianae Range phyllostegia)||USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||Hawaii||Competition (unspecified)||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009c|
|Phyllostegia parviflora (smallflower phyllostegia)||NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||Hawaii||Competition (unspecified); Ecosystem change / habitat alteration||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2008b|
|Plantago princeps||NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||Hawaii||Competition - monopolizing resources||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010a|
|Pritchardia kaalae (Waianae Range pritchardia)||CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||Hawaii||Competition - smothering||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1998|
|Pritchardia munroi (Kamalo pritchardia)||No Details||Hawaii||Competition - smothering||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011a|
|Remya mauiensis (Maui remya)||USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||Hawaii||Competition (unspecified)||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009d|
|Schiedea hookeri (sprawling schiedea)||CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||Hawaii||Competition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alteration||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011b|
|Schiedea kaalae (Oahu schiedea)||Hawaii||Competition - monopolizing resources||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1998|
|Schiedea lydgatei (Kamalo Gulch schiedea)||NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||Hawaii||Competition - monopolizing resources||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011c|
|Schiedea sarmentosa||USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||Hawaii||Competition - monopolizing resources||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011d|
|Pteris lidgatei (Lidgate's brake)||Hawaii||Competition - monopolizing resources||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009b|
|Silene lanceolata (Kauai catchfly)||USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||Hawaii||Competition - monopolizing resources||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010b|
|Silene perlmanii (cliffface catchfly)||Hawaii||Competition - monopolizing resources||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2012|
|Viola chamissoniana subsp. chamissoniana (pamakani)||USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||Hawaii||Competition (unspecified); Ecosystem change / habitat alteration||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2008c|
Social ImpactTop of page The social impacts of farmers being forced to abandon their land because of A. adenophora invasion is evident, though most recorded cases were in Australia only and at least 50 years ago.
Though a number of invasive plant species are noted as having negative health effects via the allergenic nature of their pollen (e.g. Broussonetia papyrifera, Prosopis juliflora), no effects have been observed with A. adenophora even though the pollen has been implicated in a fatal disease of horses (Auld, 1970, 1977). Horse owners and horse users may be affected by stress and high veterinary fees.
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Highly mobile locally
- Has high reproductive potential
- Negatively impacts agriculture
- Negatively impacts animal health
- Negatively impacts tourism
- Reduced amenity values
- Reduced native biodiversity
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Competition - smothering
- Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
- Difficult/costly to control
UsesTop of page A. adenophora appears to have few potential uses, though it is observed to be toxic to rats and the oils have antifungal and insecticidal qualities, being suggested for use in controlling aphids, ants and even weevils in stored grains (e.g. Li et al., 2001). The oil has been considered for other uses, and even for xylitol production (Yang and Li, 1999). Some medicinal uses are recorded in Yunnan, China, but, as with many references to its use as a quality green manure and mulch, these may refer to A. trapezoides and not to A. adenophora sensu stricto.
Uses ListTop of page
- Poisonous to mammals
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page In Australia, A. adenophora is sometimes confused with the closely related A. riparia, common name mistflower (Trounce and Dyason, 2003). The principal differences are that A. riparia is a prostrate shrub not exceeding 30 cm in height with narrow and elongated leaves, though floral parts are similar (see Trounce and Dyason, 2003).
Prevention and ControlTop of page Mechanical Control
Where practicable, A. adenophora can be controlled by slashing followed by ripping or ploughing and then sowing a pasture containing tropical grasses and legumes suited to the district. Unreliable rainfall patterns may make sown pastures difficult to establish in spring, prior to the summer germination of the weed, but pasture improvement is probably the most effective means of control available. Slash and cultivate infested areas in early spring, using crawler tractors and tandem offset discs where wheeled tractors cannot be employed with safety. Sow the pasture mixture at a high rate and spotspray seedlings as they appear (Auld, 1969; Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992).
Chemical control is effective when using high volume application and applying glyphosate, dicamba + MCPA or picloram + triclopyr in late summer or autumn when the weed is growing actively, thoroughly wetting the whole plant, particularly at the base. Where the slope permits, boomspray denser infestations with dicamba + MCPA but, in less accessible, steep or rocky areas, treat scattered plants with granular formulations of the herbicides, or use a gas gun and apply low volume, high concentration treatments of picloram + triclopyr (Auld, 1969; Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992).
Because biological control of Crofton weed was fairly successful in Hawaii, USA, the trypetid gall fly, Procecidochares utilis, was introduced to Queensland, Australia, in 1952. It established successfully, but the amount of damage fluctuated because of parasitism by indigenous hymenopteran insects. Crofton weed is also attacked by an exotic fungus, Cercospora eupatorii (which is thought to have been introduced accidentally with P. utilis), and a native crown-boring cerambycid, Dihammus argentatus. None of these organisms offer any real degree of control individually, but the combined effect has reduced plant vigour (Dodd, 1961; Haseler, 1966; Cullen and Delfosse, 1990).
Biological control was pioneered in Hawaii, USA. A survey of natural enemies in the native range of the weed in Mexico was carried out by Osborne (1924) and the gall fly P. utilis, was introduced in 1945. The weed was successfully controlled in all areas, except in regions with annual rainfall over 1030-1540 mm (Bess and Harmamoto, 1972).
The gall fly, accompanied by a specific leaf spot disease caused by Mycovellosiella sp., was introduced into the foothills of the Himalayas in India in 1963 and spread into Nepal but its impact has been reduced by parasitism by native parasitoids (Sankaran, 1973). When the weed spread into China, the gall fly was obtained from the border area with Nepal and released in Yunnan Province (He and Liang, 1988) and later in Sichuan Province but the results have been disappointing due to heavy parasitism (Greathead, 1996). Biological control has also been attempted in New Zealand and South Africa where both the gall fly and the fungus are established but, again with little impact on the weed (Kluge, 1991).
ReferencesTop of page
Auld BA, 1969. Incidence of damage caused by organisms which attack Crofton weed in the Richmond-Tweed region of New South Wales. The Australian Journal of science, 32:163
Auld BA, 1969. The distribution of Eupatorium adenophorum Spreng. on the far north coast of New South Wales. Journal and Proccedings, Royal Society of New South Wales, 102:159-161
Auld BA, 1970. Eupatorium weed species in Australia. PANS, 16:82-86
Bess HA, Harmamoto FH, 1972. Biological control of pamakani, Eupatorium adenophorum, in Hawaii by a tephritid gall fly, Procecidochares utilis. 3. Status of the weed, fly and parasities of the fly in 1966-71 versus 1950-57. Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society, 21:165-178
Blundell M, 1992. Wild Flowers of East Africa. London, UK: Harper Collins
Dodd AP, 1961. Biological control of Eupatorium adenophorum in Queensland. Australian Journal of Science, 23:356-365
EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. http://www.eppo.int/DATABASES/pqr/pqr.htm
Greathead DJ, 1996. Report on Ageratina adenophora (=Euatorium adenophorum) in Panzihua. Sichuan Province, and implications for its control in China. Ascot, UK: Imperial College
Guacchio Edel, 2013. Ageratina adenophora (Asteraceae) new species to the Italian alien flora and observations on its environmental threats. Hacquetia, 12(2):17-22. http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/hacq
Haseler WH, 1966. The status of insects introduced for the biological control of weeds in Queensland. Journal of the Entomological Society of Queensland, 5:1-4
He D, Liang J, 1988. Advances in the control of Eupatorium odoratum. Advances in Ecology, 5:163-168
Land Protection, 2004. Crofton weed, Ageratina adenophora. Facts pest series. QNRM01233. Australia: The State of Queensland, Department of Natural Resources and Mines. www.nrm.qld.gov.au
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