Why is it a problem?
Parthenium can almost grow anywhere and spreads extremely rapidly, displacing valuable forage species. It is toxic to livestock and can have detrimental impacts on human health, causing respiratory problems and dermatitis. If unmanaged, it can reduce crop yields by more than 90%.
- Poisonous to cattle
- Release toxins into soil to stunt growth of native plants
- Loss of land
- Reduces native biodiversity
- Negatively impacts livelihoods
What’s the solution?
It is possible to prevent further spread of Parthenium by destroying the plant before it flowers. This is difficult because it cannot be manually removed as it causes irritation to the skin. Equally, the use of machinery to remove the plants can result in increased seed dispersal.
Various herbicides, when applied in high volume, have been found to be effective in managing the plant. However, these methods are both expensive and unsustainable.
Biological control has been deemed the best sustainable solution to a Parthenium infestation. A rust fungus has been introduced to some parts of west Africa which has eradicated the weed in some locations.
Visit the dedicated Parthenium portal on our Invasive Species Compendium