Informed Farmers Information for busy farmers 2014-03-12T22:57:33Z http://informedfarmers.com/feed/atom/ WordPress admin <![CDATA[A new local business directory service for all Australians]]> http://informedfarmers.com/?p=125546 2013-01-15T06:36:57Z 2013-01-15T06:36:57Z If you want to find a local business in Australia, then help is at hand! Whether you are a farmer looking for a Seed Merchant or looking for a mechanic to service your vehicle, a new and easier way to find these contacts is now available.

PawsBros is a new and fast growing Australian Local Business Directory. PawsBros has . . . → Read More: A new local business directory service for all Australians]]>

If you want to find a local business in Australia, then help is at hand! Whether you are a farmer looking for a Seed Merchant or looking for a mechanic to service your vehicle, a new and easier way to find these contacts is now available.

PawsBros is a new and fast growing Australian Local Business Directory. PawsBros has not only published an online directory but created smart phone apps for both Android and iPhone and is currently developing a PawsBros Facebook app.

 The use of these smart technologies will allow users of PawsBros to have business information readily available at their fingertips.
The PawsBros apps allow business owners and users to take advantage of the rapidly growing trend of people accessing the Internet via smart devices. The phone apps will allow phone users to find business information in seconds and allow Facebook users to find a businesses information without leaving the Facebook environment.
Users of the online local  directory can easily customise the site to always be configured for their local region so information is quick and easy to find. The PawsBros Local Directory on any platform has been designed and built with the ease of use in mind.
Just visit PawsBros Local Directory to search for your business contact information and download the Android and iPhone apps.
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Asst Editor Cliff B http://www.informedfarmers.com <![CDATA[Flannel plant (Verbascum thapsus)]]> http://informedfarmers.com/?p=124945 2012-02-14T05:52:44Z 2012-02-14T05:52:44Z Flannel plant (Verbascum thapsus)

Verbascum thapsus is an erect herb in the family Scrophulariaceae. It is found in neglected meadows and pasture lands, along fencerows and roadsides. It can produce 100,000-180,000 seeds per individual plant and seeds may remain viable for over 100 years. Verbascum thapsus threatens natural meadows and forest openings, . . . → Read More: Flannel plant (Verbascum thapsus)]]>

Introduction:

Flannel plant (Verbascum thapsus)

Verbascum thapsus is an erect herb in the family Scrophulariaceae. It is found in neglected meadows and pasture lands, along fencerows and roadsides. It can produce 100,000-180,000 seeds per individual plant and seeds may remain viable for over 100 years. Verbascum thapsus threatens natural meadows and forest openings, where it adapts easily to a wide variety of site conditions and an established population can be extremely difficult to eradicate. Verbascum thapsus was once used as a herbal remedy for bronchitis, colds and congestion.

Description:

Verbascum thapsus is described as an erect herb. During the first year V. thapsus are low-growing rosettes of bluish gray-green, with felt-like leaves that range from 10cm to 30cm in length and 2.5cm to 13cm in width. Mature flowering plants are produced the second year, and grow to 1.5 to 3.0 metres in height, including the conspicuous flowering stalk. The five-petaled yellow flowers are arranged in a leafy spike and bloom a few at a time from June-August. Leaves are alternate along the flowering stalks and are much larger toward the base of the plant. The tiny seeds are pitted and rough with wavy ridges and deep grooves and can germinate after lying dormant in the soil for several decades.

Occurs in:

Agricultural areas, ruderal/disturbed.

Flannel plant (Verbascum thapsus) Distribution in North America shown in green.

Habitat description:

Verbascum thapsus is found establishing in neglected meadows and pasture lands, along fence rows and roadsides, and in industrial areas throughout North America.

General impacts:

An important characteristic of Verbascum thapsus is its ability of adapting to a variety of site conditions. It grows more vigouously than native herbs and shrubs wherever it establishes. V. thapsus threatens natural meadows and forest openings. It is a prolific seed bearer with seeds remaining viable for long periods in the soil. An established population of V. thapsus can be extremely difficult to eradicate.

Uses:

Remaley (1998) states that Verbascum thapsus, “Was first introduced into the U.S. in the mid-1700′s, where it was used as a piscicide, or fish poison, in Virginia. It quickly spread throughout the U.S. and is well established throughout the eastern states. Brought over from Europe by settlers, it was used as a medicinal herb, as a remedy for coughs and diarrhea and a respiratory stimulant for the lungs when smoked. A methanol extract from common mullein has been used as an insecticide for mosquito larvae.”

Geographical range:

Native Range:Asia, and Europe.

Close up of the Flannel plant (Verbascum thapsus) Weed.

Known Introduced Range: USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Chiule, Argentina.”

Management information:

Preventative measures: As Verbascum thapsus seedling emergence is dependent on the presence of bare ground, sowing sites with early successional native grasses or other plants may decrease seed germination and the chance of successful emergence of V. thapsus seedlings.

Manual: Hand pulling of seedlings should be undertaken after they are large enough to grasp but before they produce seeds, while hand hoeing can destroy very small plants by exposing their root systems to the sun, causing them to desiccate. Small infestations of mullein can be removed by hand digging. Although this is a slow and laborious technique it is suitable for sensitive areas, such as around other desirable trees or shrubs, where other methods may not be suitable.

Mechanical: Scarification, the use of ploughs and discs to uproot plants, is not recommended for the control of mullein. This is because it creates areas of bare ground that are ideal for the establishment of new mullein populations. Regular cultivation is known to be adequate for the control of mullein. Tractor-mounted mowers or scythes can be used to trim mullein, depending on the terrain. The best time to cut is when the plants begin to flower. Repeated mowing will prevent the flower stalk from bolting but if mowing is then discontinued then the plant will bolt and produce flowers.

Biological: Intentional establishment of late successional native plants among mullein infestations may result in the weeds being outcompeted and thereby eliminated.

Sourced From:

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Asst Editor Cliff B http://www.informedfarmers.com <![CDATA[Flamegold (Koelreuteria elegans)]]> http://informedfarmers.com/?p=124937 2012-02-10T05:02:42Z 2012-02-10T05:02:42Z Flamegold (Koelreuteria elegans)

Native to Taiwan.

Naturalised Distribution:

Locally naturalised in south-eastern Queensland (e.g. around Brisbane and near Noosa) and in the coastal districts of north-eastern New South Wales (e.g. near Lismore).

Also naturalised in south-eastern USA (i.e. Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida) and on some Pacific islands (i.e. Hawaii and . . . → Read More: Flamegold (Koelreuteria elegans)]]>

Origin:

Flamegold (Koelreuteria elegans)

Native to Taiwan.

Naturalised Distribution:

Locally naturalised in south-eastern Queensland (e.g. around Brisbane and near Noosa) and in the coastal districts of north-eastern New South Wales (e.g. near Lismore).

Also naturalised in south-eastern USA (i.e. Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida) and on some Pacific islands (i.e. Hawaii and Guam).

Cultivation:

Golden rain tree (Koelreuteria elegans subsp. formosana) has been widely cultivated as a garden ornamental and street tree, particularly in the warmer parts of Australia.

Habitat:

A potential weed of roadsides, disturbed sites, waste areas, parks, urban bushland, riparian vegetation, gullies, forest margins and open woodlands in the sub-tropical, tropical and warmer temperate regions of Australia.

Distinguishing Features:

  • A medium-sized tree usually growing 5-12 m tall.
  • Its main trunk is covered in rough greyish-brown bark.
  • Its twice-compound leaves are very large (25-60 cm long and 15-44 cm wide) and have numerous leaflets (5.5-10 cm long).
  • Its large branched flower clusters (30-50 cm long) are borne at the tips of the branches in late spring or early summer.
  • Its bright yellow flowers (up to 2 cm across) usually have four or five yellow petals and the same number of stamens.
  • Its three-sided papery capsules pe (3.5-6 cm long) turn from bright red to pink and then eventually brown as they mature.

    Flamegold (Koelreuteria elegans) Distribution in North America shown in green.

Habit:

A medium-sized tree usually growing 5-12 m tall, but capable of reaching up to 25 m in height.

Stems and Leaves:

The main trunk grows to about 50 cm across and is covered in rough greyish-brown bark that is furrowed lengthwise. Younger stems are pale brown or greenish in colour, finely hairy, and covered in small pale brown spots (i.e. lenticels).

The twice-compound (i.e. bipinnate) leaves are very large (25-60 cm long and 15-44 cm wide) and alternately arranged along the stems. These leaves are borne on stalks (i.e. petioles) and have several branches (i.e. pinnae), each carrying 8-17 leaflets (i.e. pinnules). The leaflets (5.5-10 cm long and 1.3-4 cm wide) are elongated to egg-shaped in outline (i.e. lanceolate to ovate) with entire to irregularly toothed (i.e. crenate or serrate) margins and long pointed tips (i.e. acuminate apices). They are mostly hairless (i.e. glabrous) or sparsely hairy (i.e. puberulent) and are either stalkless (i.e. sessile) or borne on tiny stalks (i.e. petiolules) up to 3 mm long.

Flowers and Fruit:

The large, branched, flower clusters (30-50 cm long and 20-25 cm wide) are borne at the tips of the branches (i.e. they are terminal panicles). These clusters contain numerous yellow flowers (up to 2 cm across) with four or five green sepals and four or five (rarely six) bright yellow petals

Close up of the Flamegold (Koelreuteria elegans) Weed.

(5.5-7 mm long and 1.5-3.5 mm wide). Each flower is borne on a short stalk (i.e. pedicel) and has the same number of stamens (4.5-10 mm long) as petals. Flowering occurs for a relatively brief period during late spring or early summer each year.

The inflated papery capsules are three-sided in nature and somewhat oval (i.e. ellipsoidal) in shape (3.5-6 cm long and 2.5-4.5 cm wide). These fruit are initially bright red to deep rose-purple, but fade gradually to pink and eventually brown in colour as they mature. Each capsule usually contains six seeds (5.2-5.5 mm across), two in each of its papery compartments. These seeds are rounded (i.e. globose) to pear-shaped (i.e. pyriform), black in colour, and either smooth or slightly rough in texture. The fruit are mostly present during late summer and autumn, but some may persist on trees into winter.

Reproduction and Dispersal :

Golden rain tree (Koelreuteria elegans subsp. formosana) reproduces by seed.

This species is generally spread to new areas by its deliberate cultivation. The seeds are blown from the trees still contained in their light and papery fruit (i.e. they are wind-dispersed) and may also be spread by water. They are probably also spread in dumped garden waste, while birds may also be a factor in their dispersal.

Impacts:

Golden rain tree (Koelreuteria elegans subsp. formosana) is regarded as an environmental weed in south-eastern Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales, and as a potential environmental weed in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. It is on the Alert List for Environmental Weeds, a list of 28 non-native plants that have the potential to seriously degrade Australia’s ecosystems.

Sourced From: http://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/03030800-0b07-490a-8d04-0605030c0f01/media/Html/Koelreuteria_elegans_subsp._formosana.htm

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Asst Editor Cliff B http://www.informedfarmers.com <![CDATA[Fisi’uli (Bidens pilosa)]]> http://informedfarmers.com/?p=124927 2012-02-10T04:50:14Z 2012-02-10T04:50:14Z Fisi'uli (Bidens pilosa) Weed.

Bidens pilosa is a cosmopolitan, annual herb which originates from tropical and Central America. Its hardiness, explosive reproductive potential, and ability to thrive in almost any environment have enabled it to establish throughout the world. Generally introduced unintentionally through agriculture or sometimes intentionally for ornamental purposes, B. pilosa . . . → Read More: Fisi’uli (Bidens pilosa)]]>

Introduction:

Fisi'uli (Bidens pilosa) Weed.

Bidens pilosa is a cosmopolitan, annual herb which originates from tropical and Central America. Its hardiness, explosive reproductive potential, and ability to thrive in almost any environment have enabled it to establish throughout the world. Generally introduced unintentionally through agriculture or sometimes intentionally for ornamental purposes, B. pilosa is a major crop weed, threat to native fauna, and a physical nuisance.

Description:

Bidens pilosa is an erect, annual herb which stands from 0.3-2 m high and bears opposite, pinnately compound, broadly ovate, (3-)5-9-lobed leaves 3-20 cm long and 2.5-12 cm wide. Leaf segments ovate to lanceolate lobed or bilobed at the base with margins crenate-serrate and apices acute. Stems are reddish tinged; 4-angled, simple, or branched. Heads solitary or in lax paniculate cymes at the ends of the main stem and lateral branches, usually radiate, 5 – 12 mm broad. Heads with 2 rows of involucral bracts, outer ones 7-10, spathulate, reflexed at anthesis, 3-4 mm long, inner ones ovate lanceolate; ray flowers absent or 4-8, sterile, corolla 7-15 mm long, white to yellow or pinkish, disk flowers with 3.5 – 5 mm long, yellow corolla. Achenes are black, 4-8 ribbed, linear, 6-16 mm long, with 2-3(-5) retrorsely barbed bristles of 2-4 mm long.

Occurs in:

Agricultural areas, natural forests, planted forests, range/grasslands, riparian zones, ruderal/disturbed, scrub/shrublands, urban areas, wetlands.

Habitat description:

Fisi'uli (Bidens pilosa) Distribution in North America shown in green.

Bidens pilosa is a hardy weed capable of invading a vast range of habitats ranging from moist soil, sand, limerock, or dry, infertile soil and low to high altitudes of up to 3,600 m. It thrives in disturbed areas, high sunlight, and moderately dry soils, but is known to invade grassland, heathland, forest clearings, wetlands, plantations, streamlines, roadsides, pasture, coastal areas, and agriculture areas. B. pilosa is capable of surviving severe droughts with a required annual rainfall range is 500-3500 mm. It is tolerant to a pH range of 4-9 and high salinities of up to 100 mM NaCl. It prefers temperatures above 15°C and below 45°C but is tolerant to frosts with roots capable of withstanding and regenerating after temperatures as low as -15°C. B. pilosa is not fire tolerant but is known to quickly invade burnt areas.

General impacts:

Bidens pilosa is a problematic species for many reasons throughout its range. A troublesome weed to at least 30 crops in over 40 countries, B. pilosa is known to significantly reduce crop yields. One study found that dry bean, Phaseolus vulgaris, harvests were reduced by 48% in Uganda and 18-48% in Peru due to impacts by B. pilosa. It forms dense stands that can out compete, out grow, and eliminate crop and native vegetation, specifically the lower vegetative strata, over large areas. B. pilosa prevents the regeneration of these plants as well, given its allelopathic properties. Leaf and root extracts are known to significantly suppress germination and seedling growth of many plants and are believed to remain active throughout decomposition. Furthermore, B. pilosa grows three times faster than similar plant species. All of these properties render it a quite formidable competitor.

Its thick stands impede access to roads, trails, and recreational areas, are a nuisance to travellers and tourists, and inflict damage to pavements and walls. Its burrs are a nuisance to people, as well as, sheep and other fleece producing livestock. The burrs are also a troublesome seed contaminant as they are difficult to separate. Bidens pilosa is also a host and vector to harmful parasites such as Root knot nematodes (Meloidogyne sp.) and Tomato spotted wilt virus (Schlerotinia sclerotiorum).

Geographical range:

Close up of the Fisi'uli (Bidens pilosa) Weed.

Native range: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Coasta Rica, Columbia, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Monteserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela, Virgin Islands (USA)

Known introduced range: American Somoa, Austria, Azores, Belgium, Benin, Botswana, British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Canarias, China, Christmas Island (Indian Ocean), Cook Islands, Congo, Cote d’ Ivoire, Cyprus, Czech Republic, England, Estonia, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Fiji, France, French Polynesia, Gaum, Greece, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Liberia, Madeira, Mauritius, Malawi, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mzoambique, New Caledonia (Nouvelle Calédonie), New Zealand, Nigeria, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Pitcairn, Portugal, Samoa, Scotland, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Soloman Islands, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Uganda, United Kingdom (UK), United States (USA), United States Minor Outlying Islands, Vanuatu, Viet Nam (Vietnam), Wallis and Futuna, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Management information:

Physical: Bidens pilosa is susceptible to hand weeding. Germination may be prevented by mulches if they are thick enough.

Chemical: B. pilosa is susceptable to several types of herbicides. Residual herbicides: diuron, bromacil, atrazine, simazine, ropazine, hexazinone, oryzalin, and ametryn; translocated herbicides: 2,4-D, glyphosate, amitrole, metribuzin, and dicamba; and contact herbicides bentazone, diquat, and paraquat have all been evaluated as effective means of controlling B. pilosa when applied at standard rates. B. pilosa is thought susceptible to the majority of broad-leafed plant herbicides.

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Asst Editor Cliff B http://www.informedfarmers.com <![CDATA[Fireweed (Bassia scoparia) (Kochia scoparia)]]> http://informedfarmers.com/?p=124918 2012-02-10T04:38:39Z 2012-02-10T04:38:39Z Fireweed (Bassia scoparia) (Kochia scoparia) Weed.

This species is native to eastern Europe (i.e. Belarus, Ukraine and Russia) and Asia (i.e. Cyprus, Iran, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Nepal, Pakistan, China, Korea and Japan).

Naturalised Distribution:

Not yet widely naturalised in Australia, and mostly confined to the south-western regions . . . → Read More: Fireweed (Bassia scoparia) (Kochia scoparia)]]>

Origin:

Fireweed (Bassia scoparia) (Kochia scoparia) Weed.

This species is native to eastern Europe (i.e. Belarus, Ukraine and Russia) and Asia (i.e. Cyprus, Iran, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Nepal, Pakistan, China, Korea and Japan).

Naturalised Distribution:

Not yet widely naturalised in Australia, and mostly confined to the south-western regions of Western Australia. Also recorded in some parts of South Australia and Tasmania.

It has also become naturalised throughout most of Europe as well as in Argentina, Canada, USA, Africa and New Zealand.

Cultivation:

This species was deliberately introduced into Australia and used to rehabilitate salt-affected agricultural land in south-western Western Australia (i.e. it was grown for forage and as a soil stabiliser). However, it soon spread out of control and it is no longer cultivated for this purpose.

Another form known as summer cypress (Bassia scoparia Trichophylla ) is sometimes also cultivated as a garden ornamental in the temperate regions of Australia, because of its attractive bright red autumn foliage.

Habitat:

A potential weed of cropping areas, roadsides, tracks, pastures, fencelines, firebreaks, rangelands, railway lines, eroded banks, gardens, waste areas and disturbed sites in temperate and semi-arid regions.

Distinguishing Features:

  • A short-lived, upright, small shrub or herbaceous plant growing 25-200 cm tall.

    Fireweed (Bassia scoparia) (Kochia scoparia) Distribution in North America shown in green.

  • Its stems, leaves and flowers are initially green in colour, but they often turn yellow, orange, red or brown as they mature.
  • Its small leaves (up to 6 cm long and 2-8 mm wide) are very narrow or lance-shaped and somewhat hairy.
  • Its tiny flowers (about 3 mm across) are clustered near the tips of the branches and do not have any obvious petals.
  • Mature plants break off and are blown around by the wind like a ‘tumbleweed’.

Habit:

An upright (i.e. erect), summer-growing, short-lived (i.e. annual) plant growing from 25-200 cm tall.

Stems and Leaves:

The stems and leaves are initially green in colour, however they often turn yellow, orange, red or brown in colour as they mature. Stems and branches are somewhat hairy (i.e. pubescent).

The alternately arranged leaves are very narrow (i.e. linear) or lance-shaped (i.e. lanceolate). They are borne on short stalks (i.e. petioles) towards the base of the plant and are stalkless (i.e. sessile) towards the tips of the stems. These leaves (2-6 cm long and 2-8 mm wide) are are somewhat hairy (particularly on their undersides and along their edges) and have entire margins with a pointed tip (i.e. acute apex).

Flowers and Fruit:

The flowers are inconspicuous (about 3 mm across) and groups of 1-6 flowers are clustered in the leaf forks near the tips of the branches (i.e. they are borne axillary clusters). Large numbers of these tiny clusters of flowers are produced and they are arranged into larger spike-like clusters (i.e. sparse spiciform panicles). The flowers are initially green and generally change colour as they mature (i.e. like the leaves). These flowers do not have true petals, but instead have five persistent ‘perianth segments’, five stamens and a very short style topped with two stigmas. Flowering occurs mostly during late summer and early autumn (i.e. from February to April), though plants can flower at any time of the year if conditions are suitable.

The small fruit (i.e. achene) has five small structures (i.e. the old perianth segments) that enclose the seed, and this gives the fruit a star-shaped

Close up of the Fireweed (Bassia scoparia) (Kochia scoparia) Weed.

appearance. The seeds (1.5-2 mm long and 1-1.5 mm wide) are egg-shaped (i.e. ovoid) and either brown, dark reddish brown or black in colour.

Reproduction and Dispersal:

This plant reproduces by seed. When the plant reaches maturity it usually breaks off at the base of the stem and rolls along in the wind like a ‘tumbleweed’, thereby dispersing its seed over large areas. Seeds may also be dispersed in contaminated agricultural produce (e.g. crop and pasture seeds). For example, on several occasions kochia (Bassia scoparia) has been accidentally introduced into Tasmania in contaminated carrot seed imported from the USA.

Impacts:

Kochia (Bassia scoparia) is on the Alert List for Environmental Weeds, a list of 28 invasive plants that have the potential to threaten biodiversity and cause other environmental damage in Australia. It was included on this list because of its rapid spread from deliberate plantings in Western Australia, and because of its history of invasiveness overseas (e.g. it is one of the fastest spreading of all invasive plants in the USA). It can also alter fire regimes in natural ecosystems and form dense infestations that reduce the abundance of native plants.

Other Impacts:

Although palatable to livestock, kochia (Bassia scoparia) may be toxic in large quantities. It also has the potential to cause damage to agricultural production, by invading crops and replacing more useful pasture species in areas that are not salt-affected. Because it thrives in warm, low rainfall, environments it is seen as a major threat to the cereal-growing regions of the southern mainland states of Australia.

Sourced From:

http://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/03030800-0b07-490a-8d04-0605030c0f01/media/Html/Bassia_scoparia.htm

 

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Asst Editor Cliff B http://www.informedfarmers.com <![CDATA[Firetree (Morella faya) (Myrica faya)]]> http://informedfarmers.com/?p=124908 2012-02-10T04:29:24Z 2012-02-10T04:29:24Z The fire tree is an evergreen shrub or small tree that usually grows around 8 metres tall. It has been reported as growing to heights of approx. 17mtrs (50 feet) in some areas

Firetree (Morella faya) (Myrica faya)

. Stem and branches of the fire tree are covered with reddish peltate hairs. . . . → Read More: Firetree (Morella faya) (Myrica faya)]]>

Description:

The fire tree is an evergreen shrub or small tree that usually grows around 8 metres tall. It has been reported as growing to heights of approx. 17mtrs (50 feet) in some areas

Firetree (Morella faya) (Myrica faya)

. Stem and branches of the fire tree are covered with reddish peltate hairs. Leaves are coriaceous, oblanceolate, 4-11cm long, 1-2.5cm wide, and have glandular dots that are inconspicuous. Leaves are dark green, shiny, smooth, aromatic, and alternate along the stem. Flowers are usually branched catkins borne among leaves of the current year’s growth. Male flowers have four stamens and occur in small hanging clusters near the branch tip. Female flowers, also grouped in small hanging clusters, occur in threes, further from the branch tip. Fruits of fire tree are small, and red to purple when ripe.M. faya is considered to be dioecious, but “male” plants still produce some fruit and “female” plants a few male inflorescences.

Occurs in:

Agricultural areas, natural forests, ruderal/disturbed.

Habitat description:

Fire tree is known to adapt to a wide range of habitats and soil types. In Hawai‘i it has invaded wet and mesic forests where it forms dense, monotypic stands, it is reported to be spreading over drier sub-montane forests. It occurs in recent volcanic cinder deposits and various types of native forest, and is most abundant on steep slopes, in seasonal montane forests, pastures, and roadsides. In Volcanoes National Park in Hawai‘i, the main infestation occurs at 1250m, and although it rapidly forms dense monotypic stands it does not readily invade closed, late-successional native forest.

General impacts:

Morella faya is capable of rapidly forming dense stands and has a negative effect on the recruitment and persistence of native plant species. M. faya an actinorrhizal nitrogen-fixer alters primary successional ecosystems in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park [Hawai‘i, USA] by quadrupling inputs of nitrogen, the nutrient limiting to plant growth.

Geographical range:

Firetree (Morella faya) (Myrica faya) Distribution in North America shown in green.

Native range: Azores, Madeira Islands and Canary Islands.

Known introduced range: Continental USA, Hawai‘i, Australia and New Zealand. Also naturalised on the Chatham Islands, New Zealand.

Management information:

Preventative measures: A Risk Assessment of Morella faya for Hawai‘i and other Pacific islands was prepared with minor modifications for use in Pacific islands. The result is a score of 8 and a recommendation of: “Likely to cause significant ecological or economic harm in Hawai‘i and on other Pacific Islands as determined by a high WRA score, which is based on published sources describing species biology and behaviour in Hawai‘i and/or other parts of the world.”

Physical: Introduced frugivorous birds and feral pigs are important dispersal agents of fire tree seeds, management options should include control of these dispersal agents to limit further spread. Goats can also be used to control the fire tree.

Chemical:Herbicide is the primary tool used for fire tree. Roundup (Glysophate based herbicide) was found to be the most efficient herbicidal treatment because of its effectiveness in undiluted form and through its rapid absorption rate (30-40 minutes). Research results concluded that injection of undiluted Roundup provided the least exposure to nearby non-target species. Environmental soundness is related to the chemical’s

Close up of the Firetree (Morella faya) (Myrica faya) Weed.

rapid inactivation in the soil by micro-organisms. In its undiluted form, Roundup can be used in small quantities (5-10 ml per tree). Tordon 22K was also effective in small quantities of undiluted form, however, absorption rate was intermediate (24-48 hours). Kuron absorption rate was slow (more than 1 week). Treatment of undiluted Roundup or Tordon 22K allowed for the reduction in treatment quantity. The smaller quantities of treatments necessary due to the elimination of a solution reduced the amount of total treatment needed out in the field, therefore reducing labour and transportation costs. The absorption rate of Roundup allowed for the rapid re-use of tube sections, which affected the amount of equipment needed in the field. Also, the absorption rate (30-40 minutes) allowed the field workers to leave the site shortly after application allowing for quicker site-to-site application. Injection of undiluted Roundup provided the least exposure to nearby non-target species.

Biological: A moth Caloptilia sp. nr. schinella a native of the Azores and Madeira Islands in the eastern Atlantic where its natural host is M. faya was released in Hawai‘i in 1991 as a potential biological control agent.Phyllonorycter myricae (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) is also under investigation as a possible biological control agent at the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry laboratory, Volcano, Hawai‘i.Botrytis cinerea is the first pathogen to be reported on the fire tree and is reported to cause widespread fruit rot. Fruit rot has been observed on trees of all sizes in a variety of habitats throughout the Hawai‘ian range. The authors of this study suggest that the selection of more aggressive strains or the introduction of large numbers of Botrytis-infested insect vectors early in the fruiting season may assist in enhancing biocontrol of the fire tree. The infected fruit were also found to be less attractive to birds, therefore lessening the spread of firetree. Septoria hodgesii sp. nov a common fungal leaf pathogen of Myrica cerifera in the southeastern U. S has been identified as a potential biocontrol agent as it has been shown (by artificial inoculation) to be pathogenic on M. faya.

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Asst Editor Cliff B http://www.informedfarmers.com <![CDATA[Fireball (Spathodea campanulata)]]> http://informedfarmers.com/?p=124900 2012-02-10T04:19:04Z 2012-02-10T04:19:04Z Fireball (Spathodea campanulata)

The African tulip tree (Spathodea campanulata) is an evergreen tree native to West Africa. It has been introduced throughout the tropics, and, has naturalised in many parts of the Pacific. It favours moist habitats and will grow best in sheltered tropical areas. It is invasive in Hawaii, Fiji, Guam, . . . → Read More: Fireball (Spathodea campanulata)]]>

Introduction:

Fireball (Spathodea campanulata)

The African tulip tree (Spathodea campanulata) is an evergreen tree native to West Africa. It has been introduced throughout the tropics, and, has naturalised in many parts of the Pacific. It favours moist habitats and will grow best in sheltered tropical areas. It is invasive in Hawaii, Fiji, Guam, Vanuatu, the Cook Islands and Samoa, and is a potential invader in several other tropical locations.

Description:

The African tulip tree is described as follows a “large tree with a stout, tapering often somewhat buttressed trunk, branches thickish, marked with small white lenticels, subglabrous to thinly puberulent, reaches heights of 25 m; leaves usually opposite (rarely 3 at a node), very widely diverging, up to 50cm long, (7-) 11-15 (-17) leaflets broadly elliptic or ovate, entire, to 15 x 7.5cm, with 7-8 principal veins on each side, puberulent and prominent beneath, apex very slightly acuminate, base somewhat asymmetrically obtuse, lower leaflets tending to be reflexed, petiolule short, 2-3mm, rachis nearly straight, brownish-puberulent, petiole up to 6cm long, thickened at base; raceme 8-10cm long on a peduncle of about the same length, with a pair of reduced leaves about halfway up, rachis and pedicels thick, brownish puberulent, bracts subtending pedicels lanceolate, curved, about 1cm long, caducous, pair of bractlets near summit of pedicel similar, opposite; calyx strongly curved upward, asymmetric, about 5cm long, tapering, somewhat ribbed, splitting at anthesis to within a fewmm of base along dorsal curve, apex horn-like, blunt, exterior brownish sericeous puberulent; corolla bright vermilion or scarlet, 10-12cm long, mouth of limb about 7cm across, lobes about 3cm long, obtuse, margins strongly crispate, orange-yellow; filaments about 5cm long, dull orange anthers arcuate, linear, very dark brown, 15mm long; style yellow, 8cm long, stigma reddish; capsule lanceolate, slightly compressed, 17-25 x 3.5-7cm.

Distribution Map:

Fireball (Spathodea campanulata) Distribution in North America shown in green.

Occurs in:

Agricultural areas, natural forests, ruderal/disturbed.

Habitat description:

The African tulip tree invades both abandoned agricultural land and closed forest; it invades natural ecosystems in the Cook Islands, Fiji, Guam, Hawai‘I, Samoa and Vanuatu. Although the African tulip tree favours moist and wet areas below 1000m, it grows upto 1,200m in French Polynesia.

The tulip tree does not tolerate frost and demands full sun for fast growth and best flowering. The biggest trees grow in moist sheltered ravines. This species loves rich soil, but puts up with just about anything with a little fertility to it, including limerock. It will survive a bit of salinity.

Close up of the Fireball (Spathodea campanulata) Weed.

General impacts:

The African tulip tree invades agricultural areas, forest plantations and natural ecosystems, smothering other trees and crops as it grows becoming the prevailing tree in these areas. In Hawaii, there are major infestations tucked away in almost every rainforest valley along the northern and eastern slopes of Kaua’I, O’ahu, and East Maui (Smith, Hawai‘ian Alien Plant Studies).

Geographical range:

Native range: West Africa.

Known introduced range: American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Galapagos Islands, Guam, Hawai‘i, Nauru, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna Islands, and Australia. Reported present on Christmas Island, Australia.

Management information:

Preventative measures: A Risk Assessment of Spathodea campanulata for Haaii and other Pacific Islands was prepared with minor modifications for use in Pacific islands. The result is a high score of 14 and a recommendation of: “Likely to cause significant ecological or economic harm in Hawai‘I and on other Pacific Islands as determined by a high WRA score, which is based on published sources describing species biology and behaviour in Hawai‘I and/or other parts of the world.”

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Asst Editor Cliff B http://www.informedfarmers.com <![CDATA[Fire-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia cyathophora)]]> http://informedfarmers.com/?p=124893 2012-02-10T04:09:35Z 2012-02-10T04:09:35Z Fire-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia cyathophora) Weed.

Native to tropical North America (i.e. the USA and eastern Mexico) and possibly also Central America (i.e. Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama), the Caribbean and South America (i.e. Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina and Chile).

Naturalised Distribution:

This species has a widespread, but scattered, distribution throughout much . . . → Read More: Fire-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia cyathophora)]]>

Origin:

Fire-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia cyathophora) Weed.

Native to tropical North America (i.e. the USA and eastern Mexico) and possibly also Central America (i.e. Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama), the Caribbean and South America (i.e. Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina and Chile).

Naturalised Distribution:

This species has a widespread, but scattered, distribution throughout much of Australia. It is most common in the coastal districts of Queensland and northern New South Wales, scattered in the Northern Territory and in the northern and western parts of Western Australia, and present in the coastal districts of central New South Wales. Also naturalised on several offshore islands (i.e. Lord Howe Island, Christmas Island, Norfolk Island, the Cocos Islands and the Coral Sea Islands) and sparingly naturalised on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.

Naturalised in many other parts of the world, including on numerous Pacific islands (e.g. Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Hawaii, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau and Wake Island).

Cultivation:

Painted spurge (Euphorbia cyathophora) is widely cultivated, particularly in the warmer parts of Australia, for its attractive reddish-coloured floral leaves.

Habitat:

This species is a weed of disturbed sites, waste areas, roadsides, creek banks (i.e. riparian areas) and plantation crops (e.g. sugar cane and pineapples) in tropical, sub-tropical and warmer temperate environments. However, it is most abundant as a weed of coastal environs and offshore islands.

Distinguishing Features:

  • A short-lived upright herbaceous plant usually less than 1 m tall.
  • Its stems and leaves have a milky sap.
  • Its leaves are often fiddle-shaped and are usually alternately arranged along the stems.
  • The leaves just below the ‘flowers’ have reddish-pink coloured bases (i.e. they appear to be ‘painted’) and can easily be mistaken for large petals at a distance.
  • Its inconspicuous greenish-coloured ‘flowers’ are borne at the tips of the branches.

    Fire-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia cyathophora) Distribution in North America shown in green.

Habit:

A short-lived (i.e. annual) herbaceous plant with an upright (i.e. erect) habit. It usually only grows to approximately 70-90 cm in height.

Stems and Leaves:

The upright (i.e. erect) stems are 3-5 mm thick and their side-branches, when present, are often produced in pairs. Stems and branches are green in colour and mostly hairless (i.e. glabrous). The stems and leaves also exude a caustic milky sap (i.e. latex) when broken or damaged.

The leaves are oppositely arranged towards the base of the plant, alternately arranged along most of the stem, and are then oppositely arranged again on the uppermost parts of the stems and branches (i.e. where the flowers are produced). These leaves (2-10 cm long and 1-4 cm wide) are borne on stalks (i.e. petioles) 4-12 mm long and the shape of the leaf blade is quite variable. It ranges from fiddle-shaped (i.e. pandurate) or lobed through to oval (i.e. elliptic) or egg-shaped in outline (i.e. obovate). The upper surface of these leaves is hairless (i.e. glabrous) while the under surface usually has a few close-lying (i.e. appressed) hairs. The leaves at the tips of the branches (i.e. those just below the flowers) have reddish-pink coloured bases and can appear to be large flower petals at a distance.

Flowers and Fruit:

The inconspicuous ‘flowers’ (i.e. cyathia) are actually tiny cup-like structures (i.e. involucres) each containing several tiny male flowers and one female flower. The male flowers are reduced to stamens and the female flower consists of a very large stalked ovary topped with a stigma. These ‘flowers’ (i.e. cyathia) are clustered at the tips of the branches and are yellowish-green in colour. Each ‘flower’ (i.e. cyathium) is borne on a

Close up of the Fire-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia cyathophora) Weed.

separate stalk (i.e. peduncle) and the tiny cup-like structures (i.e. involucres) are about 2-2.5 mm long. They usually also have one or two kidney-shaped yellowish structures that contain nectar (i.e. floral nectaries).

The fruit is a three-lobed capsule (3-4 mm long and 5-6 mm wide) with three inner compartments, each containing a single seed. Seeds are egg-shaped (i.e. ovoid) and dark brown in colour (2-3 mm long and about 1.5 mm wide).

Reproduction and Dispersal:

Painted spurge (Euphorbia cyathophora) reproduces by seed. The capsules open explosively when mature, expelling the seeds short distances. They may also be spread by water movement and is dumped garden waste.

Impacts:

Painted spurge (Euphorbia cyathophora) is regarded as an environmental weed in Queensland and New South Wales. It is ranked among the top 200 environmental weeds in south-eastern Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales, and appears on numerous local environmental weed lists in these regions.

This species prefers sandy soils, particularly in disturbed sites. It is of most concern as a weed of hind-dune areas on beaches and is also relatively common in coastal and sub-coastal riparian zones. In Queensland painted spurge (Euphorbia cyathophora) is most prevalent in the south-eastern parts of the state, but is also a weed of beaches and offshore islands in the north (e.g. in Townsville City, in Sarina Shire, on Heron Island and on Green Island).

In New South Wales painted spurge (Euphorbia cyathophora) is mainly a problem in coastal sandy sites north of Coffs Harbour on the mid north coast. In Western Australia it is an occasional weed in the northern parts of the state (e.g. at Derby and Broome), has been recorded in suburban Perth, and is also present on offshore islands (i.e. on Koolan Island).

Other Impacts:

This species is poisonous to humans. Its stems contain a milky sap (i.e. latex) that is highly irritating when it comes into contact with the skin or when it is accidentally rubbed into the eyes.

Sourced From: http://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/03030800-0b07-490a-8d04-0605030c0f01/media/Html/Euphorbia_cyathophora.htm

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Asst Editor Cliff B http://www.informedfarmers.com <![CDATA[Fingergrass (Digitaria abyssinica)]]> http://informedfarmers.com/?p=124884 2012-02-10T03:58:37Z 2012-02-10T03:58:37Z Fingergrass (Digitaria abyssinica)

Perennial with slender long rhizomes and erect culms up to 30 cm high; leaf blades 3-5 mm wide, but on occasions up to 7-8 mm. Panicle of two to nine racemes, often whorled and sub-erect, 2.5-8 cm long with broadly elliptic, completely glabrous obtuse spikelets 2 mm long. The . . . → Read More: Fingergrass (Digitaria abyssinica)]]>

Description:

Fingergrass (Digitaria abyssinica)

Perennial with slender long rhizomes and erect culms up to 30 cm high; leaf blades 3-5 mm wide, but on occasions up to 7-8 mm. Panicle of two to nine racemes, often whorled and sub-erect, 2.5-8 cm long with broadly elliptic, completely glabrous obtuse spikelets 2 mm long. The rhizomes form a dense mat beneath the soil surface, extending to depths greater than 1 m, and may twine around the roots of perennial crops. It differs from Cynodon dactylon in the vegetative stage in having an obvious membranous ligule where the leaf-blade joins the sheath.

Distribution:

Native to Zaire and eastern tropical Africa.

Altitude range:

Sea-level to 3 000 m.

Rainfall requirements:

It prefers more humid areas. Common near Bukoba on shores of Lake Victoria, west Tanzania. Rainfall should be in excess of 500 mm.

Tolerance to herbicides:

Glyphosate (Round-up) at 2 and 4 kg/ha and at split applications of 1 + 1 and 2 + 2 kg/ha gave very good control of D. abyssinica foliage but 1 kg/ha was less effective. Asulam at 2,4 and 8 kg/ ha gave poor control. Dalapon at 5 kg/ha gave moderate control which was improved by 0.5 kg/ha paraquat applied 51 days after treatment with dalapon. Prolific growth of annual broad-leaved weeds occurred where D. abyssinica had been controlled with glyphosate and dalapon and these would need subsequent control. Success in Kenya sisal plantations with heavy applications of sodium trichloro-acetate (Na-TCA). It was successfully controlled in Zambia coffee plantations by running poultry intensively.

Distribution Map:

Fingergrass (Digitaria abyssinica) is mainly found in hawaii.

Dry-matter and green-matter yields:

Fresh weight yields of D. abyssinica from sisal land of 36 t/ha which caused substantial fibre losses in the sisal.

Palatability:

Fairly palatable when young, but unproductive. It was accepted by Ankole bullocks in the wet season in Uganda, but not in the dry season.

Close up of the Fingergrass (Digitaria abyssinica) weed.

Chemical analysis and digestibility:

14.7 percent crude protein, 29 percent crude fibre, 9.5 percent ash, 3.8 percent ether extract and 43 percent nitrogen-free extract in fresh material at the early bloom stage. 8.69 percent crude protein, 31.48 percent crude fibre, 3 percent ether extract, 6.17 percent ash and 50.66 percent nitrogen-free- extract from flowering material in Zambia.

Natural habitat:

Grassland, and as a weed in plantation crops.

Economics:

The grass is often a troublesome weed in cultivations, in plantations and in orchards. It has been planted on the slopes of the Cape Peninsula in Africa to control erosion. The most troublesome of all African weeds. It is, however, used in leys at Nemalonge, Uganda, in cotton rotations.

Value for erosion control:

It has been planted on the slopes of the Cape Peninsula in Africa to control erosion.

Sourced From: http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPC/doc/Gbase/DATA/PF000218.HTM

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Asst Editor Cliff B http://www.informedfarmers.com <![CDATA[Filaree (Erodium cicutarium)]]> http://informedfarmers.com/?p=124872 2012-02-10T02:13:14Z 2012-02-10T02:13:14Z Close up of the Filaree (Erodium cicutarium) Weed.

Erodium cicutarium is an annual, winter annual or biennial that is a pioneer on disturbed and arid sites. It can cause yield reductions of crops and the seed is very difficult to clean out of small seeded crops. Erodium cicutarium is considered a noxious . . . → Read More: Filaree (Erodium cicutarium)]]>

Introduction:

Close up of the Filaree (Erodium cicutarium) Weed.

Erodium cicutarium is an annual, winter annual or biennial that is a pioneer on disturbed and arid sites. It can cause yield reductions of crops and the seed is very difficult to clean out of small seeded crops. Erodium cicutarium is considered a noxious weed as it crowds out or outcompetes crops and native plant species. Erodium cicutarium provides forage for rodents, desert tortoise, big game animals, livestock and also upland game birds and songbirds. Prevention may be the best method for controlling Erodium cicutarium, however, it may be impossible to actually prevent this species from colonising, or to eradicate it, once present. There are few known chemical control methods for Erodium cicutarium besides, general herbicide controls.

Description:

Erodium cicutarium is described as an annual, winter annual or biennial. It has a prostrate basal rosette and upright, often leafy flowering stalks. The stalks range from < 10cm to about 50cm high, and originate in the axils of the leaves. The leaves are divided into fine leaflets (or lobes) and are finely dissected, similar to those of a carrot. The flowers are about 1cm across, pink or lavender, and borne on stalks in clusters of 2-12. The sepals of the flowers are somewhat pointed and hairy. The fruiting structure (consisting of the seeds, persistent bristly styles, and central placental axis) is 2-5cm long and resembles a stork’s bill. At maturity, the developing fruit splits into 5 segments, each with a long, spirally twisting style with a seed attached at the base. The style twists hygroscopically, drilling the seed into the soil.

Filaree (Erodium cicutarium)

Occurs in:

Agricultural areas, range/grasslands, ruderal/disturbed.

Habitat description:

E. cicutarium besides being a pioneer on disturbed sites, is also a residual or secondary colonizer. Seedlings can either establish from on-site seed or from seed carried in by animals. In annual grassland communities, E. cicutarium a persistent ruderal can be intolerant of the mulch layer that builds up in some areas. E. cicutarium will tolerate partial shade, but vigor is reduced.E. cicutarium prefers dry, sandy soil, and is found in many perennial horticultural crops, turfgrass, and landscapes.” It also grows readily on soils of less sandy texture. It occurs in great abundance throughout arid parts of California, including the Mojave Desert, E. cicutarium was among the first invasive Eurasian plants to become naturalized in California.Weed surveys indicate that E. cicutarium has recently increased in distribution and abundance on cropland, especially in areas where conservation tillage has been adopted.

General impacts:

E. cicutarium has the potential to become a serious competitor of early planted spring crops on the Canadian prairies, it has been recognised as a

Filaree (Erodium cicutarium) Distribution in North America shown in green.

problem weed capable of causing economic losses in pasture and forage crops (such as Medicago sativa), and in arid wildlands. This is facilitated by its ability to emerge and thrive under cool to moderate temperatures.

The characteristics of E. cicutarium that make it such a problem weed: “E. cicutarium germinates and flowers early and continues to flower throughout the growing season, giving it a longer inductive time period than many later-maturing annual species; ” E. cicutarium is a fierce competitor, producing many seeds that germinate early, developing a deep tap root quickly, depleting soil water, and preventing sunlight from reaching seedlings of other species that germinate later and it may prevent establishment of perennial grasses by blocking access to light.

Increased density and biomass of E. cicutarium created in response to increased soil nitrogen may heighten competition for soil moisture, potentially decreasing density, biomass and diversity of native annual plants.

Geographical range:

Native range: Africa, Asia, and Europe (USDA-GRIN, 2003).

Known introduced range: Australasia-Pacific, and North America, South America.

Management information:

An integrated approach to the management of Erodium cicutarium is important, especially since herbicides for in-crop control of E. cicutarium are limited and control is often unsatisfactory. For details on management options, please see management information.

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