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Sticky nightshade discovery at O'Connell. Watch out for this weed

Sticky Nightshade has unexpectedly turned up at O’Connell, prompting a warning to landholders to be on the look out for this aggressively invasive weed.

In the past on the Central Tablelands, infestations of Sticky Nightshade, Solanum sisymbriifolium, had largely been confined to the Panuara district in the upper reaches of the Belubula River near Orange.

However summer rain has created ideal conditions for weed spread according to Marita Sydes, Central Tablelands Local Land Services Regional Weed Coordinator.

“Sticky Nightshade is turning up in new locations where it hasn’t been spotted before, with new incursions recorded in the Cabonne, Cowra, Blayney, Orange and Bathurst council areas.” said Marita.

The spread of Sticky Nightshade to O’Connell was discovered thanks to a series of pest animal and weeds workshop hosted by Local Land Services in March.

While attending the workshop held in Bathurst, Kyla Ries, realised one of the weeds being discussed was growing in her paddock at O’Connell.

“It had probably been there for about a year and we think it may have come in on some earth moving equipment,” said Kyla.

“We thought it was something similar to Bathurst burr, but when they started talking about Sticky Nightshade at the workshop, it sounded a lot like the weed we had.”

Kyla Ries raised her concerns with the County Council Chief Weeds Biosecurity Officer, Chris Jackson, during his workshop presentation.

Chris drove out to Kyla’s property that afternoon and was able to confirm the weed was indeed Sticky Nightshade.

“He explained that a completely different treatment to Bathurst burr was required to kill it, and he gave us information about the chemical we needed to use.”

Kyla Ries has since treated the single Sticky Nightshade plant on her property and is hoping that will be the end of the O’Connell weed incursion.

Sticky Nightshade is an invasive plant that competes with crop and pasture plants. Stock will avoid grazing areas of high density infestations. The weed can also invade difficult to access sites such as rocky hillsides, making control measures difficult.

The seed is spread by birds and foxes that consume the plant’s abundant fruit, and it’s believed infestations can be spread by vehicles and imported fodder. The plant can also regenerate by growth from underground rhizomes.

Central Tablelands Local Land Services has recently distributed annual funding to support local Councils with their ongoing weed inspection programs.

Local Land Services is working closely with Councils and landholders to halt the spread of invasive weeds such as Sticky Nightshade. For more information, contact Regional Weed Coordinator, Marita Sydes, on 0439 334 282.