Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Acanthospermum hispidum
(bristly starbur)



Acanthospermum hispidum (bristly starbur)


  • Last modified
  • 13 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Acanthospermum hispidum
  • Preferred Common Name
  • bristly starbur
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • A. hispidum is a troublesome annual weed of annual and perennial crops, which has spread remarkably widely from its origins in South America, almost exclusively as a result of accidental rather than deliberate transfer. The spiny fruits are a particu...

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Top of page
Flowering shoot of A. hispidum.
TitleStar burr
CaptionFlowering shoot of A. hispidum.
Copyright©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
Flowering shoot of A. hispidum.
Star burrFlowering shoot of A. hispidum.©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK


Top of page

Preferred Scientific Name

  • Acanthospermum hispidum DC. (1836)

Preferred Common Name

  • bristly starbur

Other Scientific Names

  • Acanthospermum humile Chev.

International Common Names

  • English: goat's head; star burr; Texas cockspur; upright starbur
  • Spanish: corona de la reina; cuagrilla
  • French: herbe savane
  • Portuguese: carrapicho-de-carneiro

Local Common Names

  • Argentina: cuajrilla; torito
  • Bolivia: espinoso; estrella; tacuo
  • Brazil: amor de negro; cabeca de boi; camboeiro; carrapicho de carneiro; chifre de carneiro; chifre de veado; espinho de agulha; espinho de cigano; federacão; poejo de praia; retirante
  • Colombia: carrapichno; carrapicho rasteiro
  • Dominican Republic: mala mujer
  • East Africa: jina la kawaida
  • India: kattu nerinji; saroto
  • Mauritius: herbe tricorne
  • Nigeria: kasinyawo
  • Paraguay: toro rati
  • South Africa: donkieklits; regop sterklits
  • USA: bristly starbur; goathead
  • Zambia: kanjata; nchesa; nseeto
  • Zimbabwe: sibama yauli

EPPO code

  • ACNHI (Acanthospermum hispidum)
  • ACNHU (Acanthospermum humile)

Summary of Invasiveness

Top of page A. hispidum is a troublesome annual weed of annual and perennial crops, which has spread remarkably widely from its origins in South America, almost exclusively as a result of accidental rather than deliberate transfer. The spiny fruits are a particular hazard to livestock and assist the movement of the weed in agricultural produce. There are many countries, and regions within larger countries, to which it could yet be introduced and prove invasive, with corresponding costs to agriculture.

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Asterales
  •                         Family: Asteraceae
  •                             Genus: Acanthospermum
  •                                 Species: Acanthospermum hispidum

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page Acanthospermum combines the Greek akanthos, meaning 'spiny' or 'thorny', with sperma, meaning seed, a reference to the large hooked spines on the seed; hispidum is from the Latin hispidus, meaning 'hairy' or 'bristly', alluding to the generally rough, hairy covering on stems and leaves (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992).


Top of page A. hispidum is an annual herb, up to 90 cm high with a shallow, branched tap root. The stem is erect, and exhibits regular dichotomous branching to form a more or less flat-topped plant, covered in stiff hairs. Leaves are in opposite pairs, without petioles, obovate, up to 8 cm long and 3 cm wide, slightly lobed, irregularly toothed and hairy. Inflorescences are solitary, composite heads in the axils of upper leaves, sessile, pale yellow-green and about 6 mm in diameter. Florets are quite few and are monoecious, the 5-10 ray florets being female and a similar number of disc florets male. The fruit consists wedge-shaped achenes grouped into star-shaped clusters. The achenes (also called burrs) are about 6 mm long and covered with numerous short, stiff, hooked spines, with two much longer spines at the apex.

Plant Type

Top of page Annual
Seed propagated


Top of page A. hispidum originates from South America and can be considered native wherever it occurs in South and Central America and in the Caribbean (USDA-ARS, 2005), but has spread very widely in North America, Africa, Asia and Australia and now occurs in over 60 countries (Holm et al., 1997; USDA-ARS, 2005, etc). Although mainly tropical and sub-tropical in distribution, it is also recorded from temperate Northeast Russia, near Vladivostok (Buch and Shvydkaya, 1989), and from France (Ballais, 1969).

Distribution Table

Top 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/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


BhutanPresentIntroduced Invasive Parker, 1992
ChinaPresentIntroduced Invasive Wang et al., 1990; Wang, 1990
-YunnanWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Wang et al., 1990
IndiaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979; Moody, 1989
-Andhra PradeshWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Rao et al., 1987
-GujaratWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Bhattacharyya and Pandya, 1996
-KarnatakaWidespreadIntroduced1917 Invasive Tadulingam & Venkatarayana, 1955; Subbaiah et al., 1995
-Tamil NaduWidespreadIntroduced1917 Invasive Tadulingam & Venkatarayana, 1955; Mariappan and Narayanasamy, 1972
IndonesiaRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Kostermans et al., 1987
-Irian JayaRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Kostermans et al., 1987
-JavaRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Kostermans et al., 1987
MyanmarPresentIntroduced Invasive Moody, 1989
Sri LankaRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979
ThailandRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979


AngolaPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979
BeninPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979
BotswanaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Phillips, 1991
Congo Democratic RepublicPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979
Côte d'IvoirePresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979
EthiopiaRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Stroud and Parker, 1989
GambiaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Terry, 1981
GhanaPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979
GuineaPresentIntroduced Invasive Adams, 1963
Guinea-BissauPresentIntroduced Invasive Adams, 1963
KenyaWidespreadIntroduced1945 Invasive Terry and Michieka, 1987; Blundell, 1992
LiberiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Adams, 1963
MadagascarPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979
MalawiPresentIntroduced Invasive Banda and Morris, 1986
MaliPresentIntroduced Invasive Adams, 1963
MauritiusPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979
MozambiquePresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979
NamibiaPresentIntroducedWells et al., 1986
NigerPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979
NigeriaPresentIntroduced Invasive Adams, 1963
SenegalPresentIntroduced Invasive Berhaut, 1967; Holm et al., 1979
Sierra LeonePresentIntroduced Invasive Adams, 1963
SomaliaPresentIntroduced Invasive Terry and Michieka, 1987
South AfricaPresentIntroduced Invasive Henderson and Anderson, 1966
TanzaniaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Terry and Michieka, 1987
UgandaRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Terry and Michieka, 1987
ZambiaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Vernon, 1983
ZimbabweWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Drummond, 1984

North America

CanadaPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979
USARestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Lorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-AlabamaPresentIntroduced Invasive Lorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-ArizonaPresentIntroduced Invasive Lorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-FloridaWidespreadIntroduced1800s Invasive Lorenzi and Jeffery, 1987; Hall and Vandiver, 1991
-GeorgiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Lorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979
-LouisianaPresentIntroduced Invasive Lorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-MississippiPresentIntroduced Invasive Lorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-New JerseyRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2005
-New MexicoPresentIntroduced Invasive Lorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-North CarolinaPresentIntroduced Invasive Lorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-OregonRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2005
-South CarolinaPresentIntroduced Invasive Lorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-TexasPresentIntroduced Invasive Lorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-VirginiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Lorenzi and Jeffery, 1987

Central America and Caribbean

Antigua and BarbudaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2005
BelizePresentNative Invasive Holm et al., 1979
Costa RicaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2005
DominicaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2005
El SalvadorPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2005
GuadeloupeWidespreadNative Invasive Fournet and Hammerton, 1991
GuatemalaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2005
HondurasPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2005
MartiniquePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2005
MontserratWidespreadNativeFournet and Hammerton, 1991; USDA-ARS, 2005
NicaraguaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2005
Puerto RicoPresentNative Invasive Holm et al., 1979
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2005
Trinidad and TobagoRestricted distributionNative Invasive Fournet and Hammerton, 1991
United States Virgin IslandsPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2005

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeMarzocca, 1979
BoliviaPresentNativeGonzalez and Webb, 1989
BrazilWidespreadNative Invasive Lorenzi, 1982
-AlagoasPresentNative Invasive Lorenzi, 1982
-AmazonasPresentNative Invasive Lorenzi, 1982
-BahiaPresentNative Invasive Lorenzi, 1982
-CearaPresentNative Invasive Lorenzi, 1982
-Espirito SantoPresentNative Invasive Lorenzi, 1982
-GoiasPresentNative Invasive Lorenzi, 1982
-MaranhaoPresentNative Invasive Lorenzi, 1982
-Mato GrossoPresentNative Invasive Lorenzi, 1982
-Minas GeraisPresentNative Invasive Lorenzi, 1982
-ParaibaPresentLorenzi, 1982
-ParanaPresentLorenzi, 1982
-PernambucoPresentLorenzi, 1982
-PiauiPresentLorenzi, 1982
-Rio Grande do NortePresentNative Invasive Lorenzi, 1982
-Rio Grande do SulPresentNative Invasive Lorenzi, 1982
-Santa CatarinaPresentNative Invasive Lorenzi, 1982
-Sao PauloPresentNative Invasive Lorenzi, 1982
-SergipePresentNative Invasive Lorenzi, 1982
ColombiaPresentNative Invasive Holm et al., 1979
French GuianaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2005
GuyanaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2005
ParaguayPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2005
PeruPresentNative Invasive Holm et al., 1979
SurinamePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2005
VenezuelaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2005


FranceRestricted distributionIntroducedBallais, 1969
Russian FederationPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Russian Far EastRestricted distributionIntroducedBuch & Shvydkya, 1989


AustraliaRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992
-Australian Northern TerritoryRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Miller and Schultz, 1997
-New South WalesRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1997
-QueenslandRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1997
-South AustraliaRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1997
-Western AustraliaRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1997

History of Introduction and Spread

Top of page It was introduced accidentally to Florida, USA, in the 1800s (Hall and Vandiver, 1991); first recorded in Queensland, Australia in the late 19th century (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992); in India in 1917 (Tadulingam and Venkatarayana, 1955); and in Kenya in 1945 (Blundell, 1992). In each case there was some lag before it became invasive, but in India this was apparent by the 1940's. In Australia it was naturalized by 1906 and then spread steadily. The origin and means of introduction are generally unknown, but in Florida and at other points along the eastern USA, it is believed to have been introduced in ship ballast (Hall and Vandiver, 1991) and in most other areas it is assumed to have come in accidentally, as a crop seed contaminant, or adhering to imported wool, skins and furs, rather than deliberately. In southern India, it was first noted around railway stations, and it seems clear that railways have been an important means of spread within countries.

Risk of Introduction

Top of page Although a very large number of countries outside South America have already been infested, there is certainly scope for further spread, e.g. to Mexico and Japan, as well as more widely within countries such as USA and China where many regions with warm summer temperatures remain free so far. As the weed commonly occurs in a wide range of crops in so many countries there is a highly significant risk of accidental introduction via contaminated crop seed as well as in other agricultural produce, including animal products and bags, etc., to which the spiny fruits may be attached. Deliberate introduction is somewhat less likely, though its many traditional medicinal uses could result in a temptation to import for development of pharmaceuticals.

A. hispidum is listed as a prohibited or restricted species for the states of Western Australia and Northern Territories in Australia, and for Hawaii, USA.


Top of page A. hispidum is a common weed of arable land, pastures, roadsides and wasteland. It grows in a wide range of climatic conditions and soil types (particularly light soils). It appears to behave similarly in both native and invaded areas. It is mainly tropical and sub-tropical in distribution, but occurs up to altitudes of 1700 m in East Africa (Terry and Michieka, 1987), 1500 m in Bhutan (Parker, 1992) and 1300 m in the Dominican Republic (Jurgens, 1977). It is also recorded from temperate Northeast Russia, near Vladivostok (Buch and Shvydkaya, 1989), and from France (Ballais, 1969), but whether it is fully naturalized in these localities seems doubtful.

Habitat List

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Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards 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-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page A. hispidum is a widely occurring crop weed (Holm et al., 1997) infesting small- and large-grained cereals, legumes, tree crops (citrus, peach, rubber, vines), vegetables and oil seeds. Most crops are likely to be infested with A. hispidum when grown within the habitat range of this weed.

Biology and Ecology

Top of page Physiology and Phenology

A. hispidum is a prolific seed producer; a pure stand can contain more than one million plants/ha, producing one billion seeds, weighing almost 10 tonnes (Schwerzel, 1970). After burial for one year, 80% of seed remains viable. Freshly harvested seed has 36% germination, dropping to 15% after dry storage for one year (Holm et al., 1997 - citing the work of P Thomas in Zimbabwe during 1975-82). Most seeds of A. hispidum emerge within three years of production and all seeds die within eight years whether the field is cultivated or not (Schwerzel and Thomas, 1979; Voll et al. 2001). Garcia and Sharif (1995a,b) showed that seeds were generally dormant immediately after being collected. The achenes responded positively to light, and germination was equally promoted by red and far-red light. The germination was highest in the temperature range 20-25°C. Seeds also responded to scarification.

Seedlings emerge over an extended period in the presence of adequate soil moisture and when temperatures are high enough (20-30°C). Subsequent growth is rapid, the first fruit appearing 35-40 days after emergence, seed maturation occurring 45-50 days later (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992).

Biomass and seed production are reduced when A. hispidum grows in the shade. This probably accounts for its reduced competitiveness in mixed cropping systems compared with crop monocultures (Shetty et al., 1982).

Reproductive Biology

A. hispidum is monoecious, having male flowers in the centre and female flowers on the outside of the inflorescence. Self-pollination and cross-pollination occur by wind. The spiny achenes (burrs) are readily dispersed on the wool and fur of animals and through contamination of hay and crop residues. They are also carried considerable distances by streams and floodwaters.

Environmental Requirements

A. hispidum apparently requires a certain minimum warmth to germinate and thrive. In South Africa it occurs in the summer rainfall areas but not so much where there is a Mediterranean climate with winter rainfall. It would presumably be susceptible to frost, but, as an annual, it can occur in temperate areas with very low minimum temperatures, as the summer temperatures, even in e.g. Northeast Russia, can regularly exceed 20°C.

A. hispidum is especially common on very light sandy soils, but is by no means restricted to this soil type, occurring as a serious weed on a wide range of soils, including clays.


A. hispidum is an alternative host for several crop pests, see the section on Economic Impact for further details.

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)

Air Temperature

Top of page
Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 4 30


Top of page
ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration07number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall5001500mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Bimodal

Soil Tolerances

Top of page

Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page Lloyd (1956) searched for natural enemies of A. hispidum in South America (the centre of origin of this weed) but concluded that there was little hope of finding effective biological control agents. Heliothis peltigera is of some benefit in controlling A. hispidum in Gujarat State, India but it can be a pest of economic plants (Manjunath et al., 1976).

Pathway Vectors

Top of page
VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Clothing, footwear and possessionsAchenes adhere to clothing and baggage Yes
Containers and packaging - woodAchenes adhere to packing Yes
Land vehiclesIn ship ballast water, also associated with road- and railsides Yes

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
True seeds (inc. grain) fruits; seeds Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye

Impact Summary

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Animal/plant collections None
Animal/plant products Negative
Biodiversity (generally) None
Crop production Negative
Environment (generally) None
Fisheries / aquaculture None
Forestry production None
Human health Negative
Livestock production Negative
Native fauna None
Native flora None
Rare/protected species None
Tourism None
Trade/international relations Negative
Transport/travel None


Top of page A. hispidum is a weed problem in at least 25 crops, and is one of the three principal weeds of Zimbabwe and Brazil (Holm et al., 1997). It is a declared noxious weed in Hawaii, USA and Australia. The quality of sheep wool is reduced when contaminated by the spiny achenes, and livestock are harmed when the achenes penetrate the hooves, often resulting in infection and subsequent lameness. The plant is toxic to animals when consumed on a daily basis, but is generally avoided by livestock (Holm et al., 1991)

Crop yields are decreased in the presence of A. hispidum which competes for water, nutrients and light. Walker et al. (1989) illustrated a negative linear relationship between groundnut seed yield and the period of interference from A. hispidum. Each week of interference reduced seed yields by 20, 205 and 134 kg/ha, respectively, over three consecutive years, and as little as two weeks of interference caused significant seed yield reductions. Full-season interference from 8 and 64 A. hispidum plants per 7.5 m of crop row reduced groundnut seed yields by 14% and 50%, respectively. Chivinge (1990) recorded losses in soyabean due to A. hispidum planted in pots the same day, but no loss when the weed was planted after 11 or 22 days. Congo, N'zama and Tombé (1999) studied different ratios of soyabean and A. hispidum at a range of densities and concluded that the two species share the same resources without antagonistic interactions. Holm et al. (1997) note that this is a C3 plant with relatively inefficient photosynthesis but that its competitive effect may be enhance by allelopathic influence. Crop losses are also caused by interference from A. hispidum at harvest time. This is a major cause of soyabean yield losses in Brazil (Davis et al., 1979).

A. hispidum is an alternative host for a number of crop pests and diseases including: Heliothis peltigera and H. armigera [Helicoverpa armigera] (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) (Patel et al., 1971; Manjunath et al., 1976); Calidea dregii (Hemiptera: Scutelleridae), a cotton pest in Tanzania (Reed and Kayumbo, 1965); the soyabean pests Euschistus heros and Nezara viridula (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) (Panizzi and Rossi, 1991; Mourao and Panizzi, 2000); Tomato leaf curl virus [Tomato yellow leaf curl virus] (Mariappan and Narayanasamy, 1972; Sastry, 1984); Tobacco leaf curl virus (Mariappan and Narayanasamy, 1977; Swanson et al., 1998); Groundnut ringspot virus, the causal agent of spotted wilt in tobacco, (Nunes-e-Silves et al., 2000); Xanthomonas campestris pv. sesami (Nayak and Sharma, 1980); and Verticillium albo-atrum, a wilt-causing pathogen (da Silva and Tokeshi, 1979).

Environmental Impact

Top of page A. hispidum appears to occur relatively rarely in undisturbed habitats, and has not been reported to have an undesirable impact on natural vegetation.

Impact: Biodiversity

Top of page A. hispidum is not known to have invaded national parks or other protected areas beyond occurrence as a weed of already disturbed ground, e.g. along roadsides.

Social Impact

Top of page The spiny fruits of this weed can cause pain and injury to man and animals, and there are some concerns about toxicity to livestock, but there are no reports of serious impact on tourism or other human activities.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Invasive in its native range
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts human health
  • Negatively impacts animal health
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Produces spines, thorns or burrs
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally


Top of page A. hispidum is used in traditional medicine for its anthelmintic and antalgic properties in central Africa (Menut et al., 1995). The root is used to cure coughing and bronchitis and a boiled tea of the leaves reduces fever, promotes sweating and cures diarrhoea (Holm et al., 1997). Various tribes in west Africa use A. hispidum for the treatment of arthritis, leprosy, migraine, rheumatism and stomach complaints (Burkhill, 1985). Summerfield and Saalmüller (1998) refer to the use of A. hsipidum as a traditional treatment for infectious diseases in Benin and show that, in the porcine immune system, A. hispidum enhances the proliferation of T lymphocytes. Summerfield et al. (1997) also showed inhibitory activity of A. hispidum extracts on several herpes and pseudo-rabies viruses.

Uses List

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  • Host of pest

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page Acanthospermum australe is a prostrate, glandular herb, similar to A. hispidum but softly tomentose on all parts.

Acanthospermum glabratum is a trailing, annual herb, uncommon in Kenya in the 1970s but becoming quite a common weed in central Kenya by 1990 (PJ Terry, Long Ashton Research Station, University of Bristol, personal communication, 1998).

Prevention and Control

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Cultural Control

Quarantine must be considered an integral part of any control programme. All animals brought onto a farm, as well as those transferred from infested to burr-free parts of the farm, must be checked and any burrs removed (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992).

Seeds of A. hispidum lose their viability within eight years (Schwerzel and Thomas, 1979), so that prevention of seeding will eventually exhaust the soil seedbank and eradicate the weed. Seedbank depletion can be achieved by ploughing to bury existing seeds to a depth of at least 10 cm, followed by the sowing of an appropriate perennial pasture. Any seedlings which emerge in the pasture should be removed by pulling, hoeing or with herbicides (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992).

Cultivation or slashing prior to seed set is beneficial but slashing after seed set will quickly spread the plant (Miller and Schultz, 1997). Mowing A. hispidum and other weeds growing through a groundnut crop was shown by Wehtje et al. (1999) to be beneficial as an alternative to a late post-emergence treatment.

Chemical Control

Herbicides that are reputed to give control of A. hispidum include: 2,4-D, diolamine, acetochlor, atrazine, bentazon, butachlor, cyanazine, diuron, fluometuron, imazethapyr, lactofen, linuron, mefluidide, metolachlor, napropamide, oxyfluorfen, paraquat, pendimathalin, simazine and terbutryn. Pendimethalin is reported to be selective against A. hispidum in groundnut (Gowda et al., 2002), though Reddy et al. (2002) found A. hispidum to be less susceptible than other broad-leaved weeds to pendimethalin, fluchloralin and metolachlor in field bean. A. hispidum was shown by Luo and Matsumoto (2002) to be somewhat more susceptible to the graminicide fluazifop-butyl than other broad-leaved weeds but Gowda et al. (2002) did not confirm this in the field. Foloni and Christoffoletti (1999) indicate promising selectivity in soyabean for the new herbicides carfentrazone and carfentrazone-ester.


Top of page

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