Native to the semi-arid, inland prairies of North America, cotton-tails are annual or short-lived perennial herbs of the species Froelichia floridana and Froelichia gracilis.

Cotton-tails are quick to colonise open, disturbed habitats that have dry, sandy soils. They are unpalatable to stock and of little grazing value. Cotton-tails are considered a weed in parts of North America, and F. gracilis is invasive in Japan. Cotton-tails are also found in western and Central Queensland.

Cotton-tails is not a prohibited or restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Froelichia floridana, F. gracilis


  • Annual or short-lived perennial herb 1-1.5m tall.
  • Leaves are hairy.
  • Flowers are white, woolly.
  • Stems are up to 40cm long.


  • Both species are opportunistic pioneers that colonise disturbed, open sites with dry, sandy soils.
  • Prefer disturbed areas along roadsides and in stockyards and degraded pastures.


  • F. floridana found around Injune, Mitchell, Roma, Chinchilla, Yandilla, Barcaldine and Yalleroi in Queensland.
  • F. gracilis found in small area of Central Queensland.

Life cycle

  • Seeds germinate quickly after rain, often in late winter and early spring.
  • Plant grows rapidly until flowering.



  • Weed of grazing land, particularly drought-affected or overgrazed land.
  • Unpalatable to stock, and of little grazing value.

Legal requirements

  • Cotton-tails is not a prohibited or restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014. However, by law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals under their control.
  • Local governments must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants and animals in their area. This plan may include actions to be taken on certain species. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local government for more information.

Further information