Senegal Tea

Also known as:
Temple Plant
Mexico to Argentina

General description

Hardy, semi-aquatic, perennial herb <1.5m high, grows <15cm/week in fertile conditions. Young stems angled; rounded, hollow on maturity, forming floating mats. Dark green, opposite leaves shiny, hairless, ovate – lanceolate, serrated wavy edges. White flowers (Nov-Apr) in ball-like clusters. Roots finely fibrous, root from aerial stem nodes. Dormant during winter.

Marshy soils, still or flowing water: wetlands, streams. Prefers warm fertile climate, tolerates frost.

Seeds spread via water, animals, machinery. Stem fragments spread by water, machinery.

Mats quickly cover waterways, impeding drainage, disrupting recreational activities, choking hydro turbines. Out-competes native species.

Site management

Follow up 3-monthly until eliminated. Do not graze, as stock will release fragments.

Recommended approaches

1. Report it immediately to the Auckland Council Biosecurity team, who will arrange for its control at their expense.
2. Dig out small infestations by hand, removing all stems and roots.
3. Weed wipe spring-summer, (500ml glyphosate + 2ml penetrant/1L).
4. Spray terrestrial sites spring-summer (200ml glyphosate + 20ml penetrant/10L).
5. Spray aquatic sites spring-summer (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

alligator weed
Alternanthera philoxeroides

Alligator weed has a hollow stem and lacks the serrated, wavy leaf margins. The plant also has a reddish tinge and has single flowers.

water primrose
Ludwigia peploides ssp. montevidensis

Water primrose has alternate leaves and yellow flowers.

RPMS status

Total Control - Whole Region
National Pest Plant Accord species - nationwide
Senegal tea - Main species image