Mexico/West Indies

General description

Erect or sprawling perennial herb <1m tall. Numerous, reddish-brown stems may become semi-woody, & root at joints where they touch the ground. Dark green, opposite leaves are toothed, taper at ends & have prominent veins. Clusters of small white flowers (Aug-Dec, sometimes to Mar). Plant may produce 100,000 small, dark brown seeds/year.

Grows in a wide range of habitats, preferring warm, wet, semi-shaded areas. Tolerates shade, & wet & dry conditions.

Seeds mostly dispersed by wind & also by water, gravel, & in mud sticking to clothing, machinery, animals etc. Existing plants spread vegetatively by layering of trailing branches.

Smothers native plant communities. Major weed of stream banks, causing sediment build up, flooding & instability of steep gullies & streams. Specialised streamside plants severely affected.

Site management

Physical control is only temporary, as even small pieces of root regrow. Begin clearance at top of catchment. Normally try the biocontrol option first, as other methods cause damage or disturbance. The fungus may take several years to become dominant.

Recommended approaches

1. Introduce Entyloma fungus & gall-fly wherever possible.
2. Dig out or hand pull small infestations.
3. Weed wipe, all year round (300ml glyphosate/1L or 2g metsulfuron/1L).
4.Spray (lightly, not to run off) Aug-Jan when in flower but before seeds present (200ml glyphosate+20ml penetrant/10L or 3g metsulfuron+10ml penetrant/10L). Avoid water contamination.
5. Spray aquatic sites (200ml glyphosate/10L, use glyphosate formulation approved for use over water).

Caution: when using any herbicide or pesticide PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

Mexican devil
Ageratina adenophora

Mexican devil has larger leaves with rounded teeth and larger flowers

RPMS status

Surveillance - Whole Region
mistflower - Main species image