The Queensland Government is now in caretaker mode until after the state election. Minimal updates will be made to this site until after the election results are declared.



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