Preferred Scientific Name: Chromolaena odorata

A large shrub which has the ability to climb over other vegetation smothering native plants and plantation crops, reducing yields and increasing  management costs. 

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Why is it a problem?


It is toxic to livestock, reducing livestock carrying capacities by 150%. It is also a secondary host for crop pests and is a serious fire risk during the dry season.


  • Poisonous to cattle
  • Reduces crop yields
  • Increased risk of fire
  • Loss of land
  • Reduces native biodiversity
  • Increases management costs


What’s the solution? 

Manual control

Chromolaena cannot be dug out of the ground, because it’s roots coppice and regrow. Nor can it be burnt off, because it grows back at a much faster rate than native grasses.

Chemical control

Chemical control methods can be effective, but only in the rainy season when the shoots are young. For herbicides to work on a mature plant, they must be applied repeatedly. Even then the treatment is unlikely to be effective.

Biological control

In South Africa, the larvae of Pareuchaetes pseudoinsulata - a species of moth - is successfully controlling Chromolaena. However, there is evidence to suggest that the strain of Chromolaena found in West Africa is of a different strain. However, research has unearthed a weevil called Lixus aemulus which is shown to reduce biomass and seed production.

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Robie Fidely

Robie Fidely


Robie is a smallholder farmer from Sirurisimba village in Tanzania where she keeps some livestock and grows cereals and vegetables.

Fact file

Name Chromolaena


Africa, Asia, North/ South/ Central America

For more information on distribution, view the full datasheet available here


Humid tropics, forestry, pastures, neglected fields and wastelands

Natural enemies

Pareuchaetes pseudoinsulata Rego Barros is a moth which is found in the native range of Chromolaena, the larvae feed on the leaves of the plant which results in defoliation


Spreads rapidly, highly competitive and resistant to most control methods

Likelihood of entry

High risk of accidental, international transportation



Plant type


Further reading

Visit our online resource of research and full text articles and journals
Invasive Species Compendium

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