Weed of the month: Paterson’s Curse


Paterson’s Curse (Echium plantagineum) is identified as a priority weed for the southern region. Paterson’s Curse affects pastures, parks, rural land and suburban blocks through lower rainfall areas of southern Tasmania.

Nearly 700 infestations are recorded in the state, however many of these are small and discrete. 

Paterson’s Curse is an economically significant competitor of pasture and is toxic to stock, particularly horses if eaten in excess. 

Paterson’s Curse is an annual herb with hairy green leaves and purple flowers borne on tall heads. Most seedlings germinate in autumn, develop through winter then flower in early spring to summer, but it is possible to find plants in a range of growth stages year-round.

Paterson’s Curse is highly visible in southern Tasmania this month.   

Paterson’s Curse propagates from seed. Feeding out of contaminated hay or grain is implicated in the spread of Paterson’s Curse across Tasmania.

Feed out over a small area, not a large one, and be vigilant against new weeds growing there, or use pelletised feed to prevent Paterson’s Curse spreading through these pathways.

A wide range of control options exist for Paterson’s curse, including many registered herbicides. Consult the DPIW control guide for detailed information on controlling Paterson’s Curse.