Noogoora Burr is a herbaceous daisy bush from Central America. It was accidentally introduced to Australia in the late 19th century, probably as contamination in cotton seed. It is found in all eastern mainland states, in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, in the Victoria River District and around Alice Springs. Although its potential distribution has not been determined, its current wide extent suggests that it could colonise most waterways in the Northern Territory.
The bristly fruits of Noogoora Burr are dispersed on animal fur and on clothing. Seed may remain dormant but viable for over a decade. Their ability to spread in floodwater has enabled the weed to establish along stream channels. Noogoora Burr also colonises disturbed ground.
Noogoora Burr needs full sunlight and an adequate moisture supply. It flourishes on rich soils, including black soil and alluvium, but can persist almost anywhere its sunlight and moisture requirements are met. It is toxic to livestock.
Noogoora Burr forms dense thickets which exclude the majority of understorey plants. Due to the spread along water courses, wetland plant biodiversity is threatened by Noogoora Burr infestation. Noogoora Burr replaces the Cane Grass in which Purple-crowned Fairy-wrens nest. Fairy-wrens will feed in Noogoora Burr while its lush greenery provides shelter, but they avoid it once it shrivels and turns brown. If Noogoora Burr continues to spread, this weed could also affect a wider range of threatened species.
Noogoora Burr also has an impact on pastoral productivity. Due to its rapid growth rate and extensive root system, it competes with edible pasture species. If its seedlings are eaten, they are poisonous to most stock, and its fruits contaminate wool in sheep growing areas, increasing processing costs. Dense stands can also restrict stock access to watering points.
Noogoora Burr is a declared weed in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. It is recognised as a significant environmental weed in the Northern Territory Parks and Conservation Masterplan and is listed as a high impact weed in the Field Guide to Assessing Australia’s Tropical Riparian Zones.
Control practices recommended for Noogoora Burr include hand-hoeing to remove isolated plants; grazing of plants that are between seedling stage and flowering; and spraying young, actively growing plants. A number of chemicals are registered for control in the Northern Territory including 2,4-D, MCPA, metsulfuron-methyl, fluroxypyr, glyphosate, picloram and triclopyr. The recommended application of these chemicals is as a foliar spray.
In Western Australia, Noogoora Burr is one of the few weeds where quarantine restrictions have been used in an attempt to limit its spread. In the Kimberly, all pastoral leases from Fitzroy Crossing to the river mouth are quarantined in an attempt to prevent the spread of the weed.
Biological control has had mixed results. Until recently, insects released have had little effect on the species. A Puccinia rust reduced populations in eastern Australia, but has had little impact in the Northern Territory or Western Australia. However, Noogoora Burr is now reappearing in some of the northern Queensland rivers from which it has previously been largely eliminated by the rust. Investigations are underway into new strains of this rust that are adapted to northern climatic conditions.
- This Weed Risk Assessment for Xanthium strumarium, uses the Australian Weed Risk Assessment Scheme (click here for more information on this scheme)...This Weed Risk Assessment for <i>Xanthium strumarium</i> uses the Australian Weed Risk Assessment Scheme to assess the likelihood of introduced plants becoming a pest.
- Ecoport profile for Noogoora Burr Xanthium strumarium, also known as Xanthium occidentale and Xanthium pungensThis profile of Noogoora Burr <i>Xanthium strumarium</i>, also known as <i>Xanthium occidentale</i> and <i>Xanthium pungens</i> on FAO's Ecoport Web Site, provides information on the appearance, distribution, ecology, status and use of the species. Links are provided to maps, illustrations and other resources. Information is incomplete for many species, but is being continually upgraded.
- Article on the Northern Territory Government website describing efforts to control Noogoora Burr using the rust fungus Puccinia xanthii, which has had success in Queensland and New South Wales, but not the Northern Territory or the Kimberley, and the not-so-successful stem-galling moth Epiblema strenuana.
- This leaflet, on the NSW Department of Agriculture web site, describes Noogoora Burr and Californian Burr: what they look like, where they grow in Australia, where they came from and how they got here, their life cycles, why they are considered weeds, how to control them, and their weed status in NWS and Vic.
- PIER Profile for Noogoora burr Xanthium occidentale, Xanthium pungens, part of Xanthium strumarium. If available, includes Species description; Habitat/ecology; Propagation; Distribution; Information sources; Illustrations; Weed Risk
- WA profile for Noogoora Burr, Xanthium strumarium, on the Western Australia Department of Agriculture and Food Web Site. Includes an illustration, a plant description, information on control and information on the declaration of pest plants.
- This leaflet describes a range of burr-producing weeds that are found in the Northern Territory. It provides a description and illustration of the each, with information on their impact, distribution and strategies for prevention and control.
- A description of a Land and Water Australia-funded project by CSIRO, NT Department of Natural Resources, Environment, the Arts and Sport and WA Department of Agriculture and Food to improve biocontrol of Noogoora Burr (Xanthium spp).
- Weeds Australia Identification Guide: Noogoora Burr Xanthium occidentale, Xanthium pungens, part of Xanthium strumariumThis identification guide, on the Weeds Australia Web Site, includes photos, a description of the plant, notes on its distinguishing features and its dispersal ability, and a map of its current and potential distribution
- PlantNet profile for Noogoora Burr Xanthium occidentale, with illustrations, description, and distribution of the species in New South Wales, and the status of the species in other States and Territories
- This web page, on the Australian Government Weeds web site, provides information on Noogoora Burr, Xanthium strumarium: What it looks like, how to manage it, and links to resources
- Queensland Government web page for Noogoora burr Xanthium pungens, with an illustration and brief description of the weed and its impact and links to other information resources
- Description of a research project looking at the distribution and population dynamics of Noogoora Burr in northern Australia and the potential to control this weed with rust fungus
- <p>This map, on the Biosecurity Queensland web site, shows the distribution of Noogoora Burr <em>Xanthium occidentale </em> in Queensland in 2007, based on PestInfo mapping</p>
- Information on the distribution of Noogoora Burr in Western Australia, and methods for its control on the Western Australia Department of Agriculture and Food Web Site
- This factsheet, on the Biosecurity Queensland web site, describes Noogoora Burr, what it looks like, why it is a problem, where it grows and how to control it.
- WA conservation status and taxonomic information for the plant Noogoora Burr Xanthium strumarium), and, when available distribution map and...WA conservation status, distribution, map and, where available, botanical description and illustration