Lions Tail Losing Its Bite

June 15, 2015

Lions Tail Losing Its Bite

Lions Tail flowers are contained within sharp, leaf-like structures that make clusters quite spiky when mature


An emerging weed, Lions Tail, is being tackled by a group of dedicated “weed busters”.


The group, a force to be reckoned with, consists of Tablelands Regional Council, Biosecurity Queensland and Terrain NRM. They have formulated a plan of attack which has CVA volunteers from Overseas to assist in hand pulling the weed.

The invasive weed, Lions Tail, is located on the edge of the unspoiled Mill Stream, a relative weed free river system. Lions Tail was first noticed by the keen eye of a Tablelands Regional Council Land Protection Officer, who had just returned from working on it in another region. Biosecurity Queensland was promptly notified and the incursion was discussed at local Pest Management Advisory Committee Meetings [PMAC]. As this is the only known incursion in the Tablelands Regional Council, a small team was initiated to develop a weed management plan to eliminate it from the area, before it entered the river system. Evizel Seymour, Terrain NRM, said “it has developed into a great project, with agencies working together, to eliminate a potentially invasive weed”.

Lions Tail is a native to tropical and sub-tropical region of Africa. In Australia, it will out compete our native vegetation by multiplying prolifically in drier climates, where it will form large areas that become impenetrable to both people and animals. Lion’s tail is an erect annual forb that can grow to 3 metres in height.  Its flowers are orange to orange-red colour and tubular shape in round clusters approximately 5 cm in diameter occur toward the tip of the plant. Flowers are contained within sharp, leaf-like structures that make clusters quite spiky when mature. Mature plants produce large quantities of dark, triangular shaped seeds, which are easily dispersed.

The weed buster group called on Conservation Volunteers Australia, Better Earth volunteers to lend a hand in the fight against the incursion. Volunteers from all around the world have assisted by hand pulling the infestation of Lions Tail. There has been 3 teams, with the first team pulling large adult plants, about to flower. The subsequent teams, have been pulling out seedlings which are fewer in number and smaller in size than the initial team. We have had teams, every 6 weeks, at the site since February 2015. Brian Wienert, TRC, comments “that the teams have been very effective in the removal of the weeds. Let’s hope we can have consistent funding, to continue the works, and make sure we have removed it completely from the system”.