Panicle jointvetch

Native to tropical America, panicle jointvetch is a perennial legume.

Panicle jointvetch was planted in Queensland in the 1980s and 1990s to evaluate its potential use as a pasture legume. However, it was found to offer little value as cattle feed. Remaining Queensland populations are now targeted for eradication because it invades and replaces pasture and native plants.

Panicle jointvetch is not a prohibited or restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Aeschynomene paniculata

Description

  • Erect, perennial legume 1-2m tall.
  • Leaves are pinnate, up to 8cm long, each composed of 50-60 leaflets.
  • Leaflets are oblong, obtuse, 2-5mm long, 1-1.5mm wide.
  • Stems are reddish-brown.
  • Flowers are pea-shaped, yellow, 6-6.5cm long.
  • Pods are 15-20mm long, straight or slightly curved.
  • Seeds are about 2.5mm long, 1.5mm wide, smooth, dark brown.

Habitat

  • Prefers open eucalyptus woodland in seasonally dry tropics of north Queensland.

Distribution

  • Currently exists as small, isolated populations along Queensland's east coast, with largest population at Batavia Downs property on Cape York.

Life cycle

  • Flowering can occur when plant has experienced sufficient summer rainfall.
  • Seeds mature about 1 month after flowering.
  • Single plant can produce 400-800 seeds.

Impacts

Environmental

  • Invades grassy understoreys in open tropical woodlands, replacing pasture plants and native understorey plants.

How it is spread

  • Seeds can spread through gut of ruminants and readily establish in dung.
  • Seeds are suspected to have been transported down-slope by heavy rain in monsoonal areas.
  • Vehicles may spread seeds embedded in mud.

Legal requirements

  • Panicle jointvetch 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