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Have you seen Cha-om?

Be on the lookout for Cha-om and report it to Biosecurity Queensland. Early detection and reporting are the key elements in controlling Cha-om.

Call us on 13 25 23.

Native to south and South-East Asia, cha-om is a prickly shrub. It can be confused with the native species Senegalia albizioides and a near-threatened, native climbing and prickly subspecies. It invades nature ecosystems.

Cha-om is a prohibited invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Senegalia pennata sp. insuavis


  • Shrub up to 5m tall.
  • Scattered prickles along branchlets, stems.
  • Leaves are bipinnate.
  • Flowers are cream-yellow.
  • Pods are flattened.
  • Flowers, leaves, stems have strong odour.
  • Can be confused with native species Senegalia albiziodes and Senegalia pennata subsp. kerrii.


  • Prefers disturbed habitats, generally near rainforests.


  • Occurs sparingly naturalised in north Queensland.



  • Invades natural ecosystems.


  • Invades pastures and reduces beef production.

How it is spread

  • Spread by people who grow it for use as a vegetable.


  • Call 13 25 23 if you find a plant you suspect may be pennata wattle or cha-om to seek advice on control options.

Legal requirements

  • Cha-om is a prohibited invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • It must not be given away, sold, or released into the environment without a permit.
  • The Act requires that all sightings to be reported to Biosecurity Queensland within 24 hours.
  • By law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risk of Cha-om spreading until they receive advice from an authorised officer.

Further information