Siam weed concerns Western Australian farmers

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Siam weed concerns Western Australian farmers

Western Australia's Department of Agriculture and Food has told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) a Siam weed infestation in the Cocos Islands could pose a threat to local crops.

Department scientist Andrew Reeves told the media agency while the islands are 2000km away from the Australian coast, the pest could still reach the mainland via air or sea freight.

He said the risk was low, but it still exists, while the conditions in the Kimberley region would be ideal for the weed, the story reported.

"It would love to get into anywhere that has horticulture, so if it was to get into areas like the Ord, it would rapidly develop into an extensive weed," he was quoted as saying.

The department describes the Siam weed as growing up to seven meters tall or 20 meters as a climber, "distinguished by the pungent odour of the leaves when crushed, its abundant white to pink flowers, and its soft green opposite leaves each with three prominent veins".

While the weed is native to tropical South America, Mexico and the Caribbean, it has spread throughout the world's tropical regions.

The Australian Federal Government has funded a control program in the Cocos Islands, with the goal of achieving eradication on the main island in 12 months and to wipe out the pest on the West Island within three years, the story reported.



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