Pompom weed (Campuloclinium macrocephalum (Less.) DC.)

This an ornamental South American herb belonging to the daisy family, Asteraceae. It is rapidly becoming the most serious threat to the conservation of grasslands in South Africa. Infestations become conspicuous when the plants are in flower between December and March, transforming the veld from green to pink. This weed displaces native species, reducing both the biological diversity and carrying capacity of the veld.

This weed is listed as a category one plant under the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act (Act No 43 of 1983). Plants from this category are prohibited on any land or water surface in South Africa and must be controlled or eradicated where possible. Pompom weed is drought tolerant and possibly allelopathic i.e. it might have a chemical defence mechanism that inhibits the growth of other species.

Pompom weed retreats underground during winter and people tend to forget about it. Pompom is expanding at such a rate that chemical control will soon become unpractical and unaffordable. Biological control is the only sustainable control option against pompom weed.

And yet doesn’t it look beautiful… the flowers were probably brought in foe their show and the rest remains history… a few photos I took Thursday..

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35 thoughts on “Pompom weed (Campuloclinium macrocephalum (Less.) DC.)

    • I agree.. but my research has shown they destroy the sweet grasses so necessary for the wild game to gain weight in the summer for wintering through on the dry grass… who knew..?/

    • Good question… here we have a board that decides.. but no plant is called a weed they are all plants… to me that is… I did a field trip with one of our top experts on trees and I kept referring to the shrubs.. he said there are no shrubs.. they are all trees some just smaller than others… I didn’t argue the point.. but decided that we all can decided ourselves what to call a plant… when is a flowering plant a bush and when is it a tree…???

    • One wonders if we will ever eradicate the invasive weeds that were brought to the country so many years ago and now have a good foot hold… I personally think our chances are slim…

    • I have said it before “nice to look at but far from nice” one wonders how plants like this behave in their area of origination… they probably for reasons unknown are not a problem there.. or are not so invasive… or maybe have a natural enemy in the form of a beetle or such that keeps them controlled… makes me think…

  1. Bulldog, where is our mate, Frank ????? I know he was going to take a break – but for how long ??? *smile
    Not a pink girl, but this some pink carpet. Look like the Scottish thistles – the purple once. Great shots ago. My favorite is the 3rd from the top.

  2. It is pretty, but it reminds me of Paterson’s Curse (Echium plantagineum) which is a violet coloured flower running rampant in parts of Australia. The first time I saw it I said, ‘Look at those beautiful purple pastures!’ and hubby said ‘It’s a weed and it kills all the livestock, particularly horses.’ ARGH. It’s so hard to get rid of these types of weeds…

    • It is interesting how all these plants seem to be so pretty yet so destructive… yet they say in nature the more colourful the insect the more poisonous it is to birds, and they recognised that… maybe it works the same for the animals and there grazing habits… or should work…

    • Just so.. nice to look at but not nice to have… at Rietvlei they have a test program in an area that they are hoping to find a solution to eradicate this plant… and in another area they have teams cutting off the flowers as a test, or so I’m told… will be interesting to keep an eye and see what success they have…

    • Well Linda and I road around admiring it.. it was only when I got home and researched the plant to share did I find out about it’s destructive properties…

  3. I’m not familiar with this plant in your previous post I thought the pink field looked pretty but close up the flower is ugly, disappointed to find out that it is an invasive weed. Interesting post 🙂

    • “nice from far but far from nice” a bad plant unfortunately.. and Linda and I drove around admiring the shades of colour, only to find out what it was…

  4. We have a similar problem here in Ontario with Purple Loosestrife. It is really quite pretty but quickly takes over wetland areas and roadsides. As a result it reduces nutrients and space for native plants and degrades habitat for wildlife. It’s too bad because they are pretty :).

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