We were warned that our changing climate would create opportunities for infestations of new weeds to establish  and it’s  happening . The recent wet summers have been very favourable for the spread of Inkweed. This weed has been quietly sitting in the background for years , a few plants dotted across the countryside, not doing much harm . Suddenly we have noticed an explosion of this stinking toxic weed in the Creightons Creek , Gooram & Ruffy areas.

Ink Weed,  Phytolacca octandra : native of Central America, Mexico.     A weed of disturbed sites, waste areas, gardens, forest margins and roadsides. Its distinguishing features : A large herbaceous plant to small shrub growing to 3 m  but usually 1 m tall. Branched stems reddish in colour and hairless. Alternately arranged leaves that are green at first but often turn reddish with age. Inconspicuous greenish – white flowers that grow in clusters. Purplish black berries containing a reddish colour juice.

The seeds are dispersed by birds and foxes

Inkweed is regarded as an environmental weed and parts of the plant are toxic to livestock.

Landcare Coordinators in the Hughes Creek Catchment have taken action to prevent the spread of this weed along roadsides. They regularly patrol problem areas, cutting and painting the plant bases with herbicide  and removing the plants to prevent the ripening berries from germinating.