Candyleaf

Native to tropical America (from the mountains of Texas to the mountains of Mexico, Ecuador and Peru), candyleaf is a perennial plant that bears clusters of white flowers.

Candyleaf has not been regarded as a weed overseas, but dense stands in north Queensland suggest that it may have invasive potential, particularly on open disturbed sites.

You must manage the impacts of candyleaf on your land.

You must not give away, sell or release candyleaf into the environment.

Scientific name

Stevia ovata

Description

  • Perennial plant, 40–80cm tall.
  • Flowers are small, white, in clusters.
  • Leaves are variable in shape, 3–6cm long, generally in opposite pairs along stem but sometimes alternately.

Habitat

  • Prefers open, disturbed, rocky sites, generally on mountains at high altitudes.
  • Can be found along roadsides and in woodlands and native pastures.

Distribution

  • Known to occur near Ravenshoe on the Atherton Tableland.

Impacts

  • Limited information available on scale of impact, but candyleaf could become significant pest.

Economic

  • Out-competes native pastures that may be used for grazing.

Environmental

  • Can form dense stands.
  • Invades disturbed and undisturbed land.

Legal requirements

  • Candyleaf is a category 3 restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • It must not be given away, sold, or released into the environment. Penalties may apply.
  • You must take all reasonable and practical measures to minimise the biosecurity risks associated with dealing with candyleaf under your control. This is called a general biosecurity obligation (GBO).
  • At a local level, each local government must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants  in its area. This plan may include actions to be taken on candyleaf. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local government for more information.

Further information