HORSETAIL, a State prohibited weed, has been found at a property in Chewton, near Castlemaine.
State prohibited weeds are the highest category of noxious weeds under the Catchment and Land
Protection Act, 1994, according to a statement released today by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI).
DEPI biosecurity officer Zac Munakamwe said the plant was highly invasive and difficult to control due to its extensive root system.
“When a weed is declared as State prohibited, this is because it either does not occur in Victoria or there is an expectation it can be eradicated from the State,” Mr Munakamwe said.
“Horsetail is not native to Australia and was imported for ornamental use and also for medicinal purposes prior to its declaration in 2003, which is why we are still finding plants in suburban gardens,” Mr Munakamwe said.
Horsetail thrives in damp conditions and is internationally recognised as being one of the worst weeds due to its invasive potential.
“In this case, all the horsetails found at the property were contained within a pot sitting on a paved surface, hence significantly reducing the risk of dispersal,” Mr Munakamwe said.
“Horsetail contains chemicals that are toxic to livestock and, once it gets away, it is difficult to remove its root system which can cover an extensive area.
“Until the matter was brought to the attention of the homeowner, they had no idea what they had on their hands and were keen to work with DEPI to support the eradication program.”
Horsetails have green, jointed and hollow stems with spore-producing cones found at their apex during spring. Even small fragments of these stems are able to break off and produce new plants.
If you think you have seen Horsetail please contact the DEPI hotline on 136 186 to ensure appropriate treatment and disposal.