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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