Calling WA landholders and community to help detect and control cotton bush

Have you seen this fluffy shrub in your area? If so, you may have a cotton bush infestation and we’d love to know about it!

Cotton bush is a highly invasive weed which poses a threat to food systems, the natural environment and health. South West Catchments Council, along with CSIRO and WA’s Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) are calling on the community to report cotton bush infestations through a new smartphone app, MyPestGuideTM Reporter, available on the App Store and Google Play.

Narrow leaf cotton bush (Gomphocarpus fruticosus) (Credit: DPIRD WA.)

Data submitted via the app will assist with the development of new control methods to prevent the spread of this noxious pest. The app also provides postal addresses for users to send samples of the plant, which will contribute vital data about the location of different sub-species.

Cotton bush is easy to identify when mature. The shrub grows to two metres high, is sparingly covered in soft bristle and has drooping clusters of small cream/white flowers. Its puffy air-filled seed pods contain seeds with a tuft of silky hairs, allowing them to be carried away by the wind.

Once an area becomes infested with cotton bush, it can be costly to treat and difficult to remove. It aggressively out-competes native and agricultural plant species and is toxic to livestock.

For more information on how to identify cotton bush, visit the DPIRD website. Instructions on how to use the app to report cotton bush are available here.

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