Stop, thief! Spiky weed robs nutrients and steals pastures

2 October 2020 

Now is the time to stop the spread of the invasive Wild Artichoke, a declared weed that can dominate pastures and rob valuable nutrients and moisture from your soil.

Landscape Officer David Hughes from the Northern and Yorke Landscape Board said it was important to act now to prevent the spiky weed from setting seed.

“Wild Artichoke plants typically have about 16 flower heads and each flower can produce 200 seeds, so it can quickly multiply and invade your land,” he said.

“We encourage landholders to destroy old plants before flowering begins in October or November, to save them from more work down the track.”

Wild Artichoke (Cynara cardunculus) is a known pest plant on rural and semi-rural properties throughout much of the Northern and Yorke region and occurs mostly on cleared land such as along roadsides, creeks and waterways and grazing land.

Not to be confused with the edible Globe Artichoke, it is a spiny, erect plant with a silky, green appearance and blue-purple flowers that can reach up to two metres in height.
Wild Artichokes form dense clusters of prickly vegetation that degrade and displace pasture species by shading and drawing moisture and nutrients from the soil, eventually dominating a pasture.

The growing and control season for Wild Artichoke starts in autumn, after first rains, and continues until late spring. “The good news about this weed is that once you learn how to apply the right herbicide, it is not difficult to control,” said Mr Hughes. “The secret is to cover the plant’s entire leaf area with herbicide.”

Landscape officers from the Northern and Yorke Landscape Board are currently working with landholders on a targeted program. For details about this program and best practice control measures, please call the Clare office on 8841 3400 or email ny.landscapeboard@sa.gov.au.

Further information about Wild Artichokes can be found on the Pest Plants web page.

 

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