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Gomphocarpus fruticosus (L.) W.T.Aiton
Narrowleaf Cottonbush

Hort.Kew. edn 2, 2:80 (1811)
Conservation Code
Not threatened
Naturalised Status
Alien to Western Australia
Name Status

Erect perennial, herb or shrub, 0.5-1.5 m high. Fl. white/cream, Feb to Jul. Disturbed sites.

Grazyna Paczkowska, Descriptive Catalogue, 28 October 1996


IBRA Regions
Avon Wheatbelt, Esperance Plains, Jarrah Forest, Mallee, Nullarbor, Swan Coastal Plain.
IBRA Subregions
Dandaragan Plateau, Fitzgerald, Merredin, Northern Jarrah Forest, Nullarbor Plain, Perth, Recherche, Southern Jarrah Forest, Western Mallee.
IMCRA Regions
Leeuwin-Naturaliste, WA South Coast.
Local Government Areas (LGAs)
Albany, Armadale, Bayswater, Busselton, Cockburn, Collie, Dardanup, Donnybrook-Balingup, Esperance, Gingin, Gosnells, Harvey, Kalamunda, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Lake Grace, Mundaring, Murray, Perth, Ravensthorpe, Rockingham, Serpentine-Jarrahdale, Stirling, Tammin, Wanneroo, Waroona.

Management Notes (for the Swan NRM Region)

General Biology. Growth form. Shrub. Reproduction. Seed, root suckers. Dispersal. Wind, water, soil movement. Time to first flowering. 2 years. Toxicity. Can be toxic to livestock. All parts of the plant are poisonous and sap is a skin irritant. Vegetative regeneration strategy. Resprouts and produces root suckers. Seedbank persistence. Long, 5+ years. Fire response. Hot fire will kill mature plants and can destroy soil stored seed.

Notes. Host plant of the larvae of the lesser wanderer butterfly, Danaus chrysippus petilia. Capable of forming dense thickets. Seedlings develop the ability to resprout from the root or crown if aerial growth is injured within a few weeks of germination. Can move into undisturbed native vegetation. Has allelopathic properties.

Additional information. Origin. Southern Africa. History of use/introduction. Garden escape. Similar exotic species. Asclepias curassavica, Gomphocarpus physocarpus.

Suggested method of management and control. Hand pull small plants, ensuring removal of as much root material as possible. Hand removing plants with mature fruits can lead to realease and rapid spread of wind dispered seed. Foliar spray with 1.5% glyphosate or try cut and paint using 50% glyphosate. Read the manufacturers' labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. For further information consult the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to determine the status of permits for your situation or state.

Management Calendar

Calendar Type Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Comments
Flowering Y Y Y O       O O O Y Y  
Fruiting O Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y O  
Germination O O Y Y O O O O O O Y Y any time after rain
Active Growth O Y Y Y O       O Y Y O  
Optimum Treatment O O O O O O O O Y Y Y Y hand remove before fruit set

Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.



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