What is a weed
This is a fairly vexing question. There are plant species which are obviously endemic to Australia but then there are species which not endemic but were introduced so long ago they are considered 'naturalised'. And by long ago we mean before western colonisation - the country now known as Australia was visited by sailors and traders from Asia long before Captain Cook was even born. Then there are plant species which have been introduced since colonisation but do not pose any threat to native eco-systems.
So, the best definition to begin with is an "invasive weed" as declared by your government - in our case the NT Government's Weeds Branch. Many species are declared invasive because they threaten native species by out competing them, or provide significant fire loads during the fire season or in the case of aquatic weeds, choke waterways.
- The first thing you need to do is a let an area grow - if you simply mow/slash an area you will never really know what is there. This is the big leap.
- We recommend using Nicholas Smith's excellent Field Guide Weeds of the Wet/Dry Tropics to identify species.
- You can also take examples of species to the NTG Herbarium, who are always very helpful and have assisted us on many occasions over the years.
- Similarly, you can get resources via LandforWildlife who also organise workshops for identification of plant species both native and non-native.
- We would also recommend checking any identification advice you receive from neighbours/other locals - misidentification spreads as quickly as seeds in the wind.
Below is a brief list of the weed species we mainly tackle.