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NARROW LEAF COTTON BUSH (Gomphocarpus fruticosus)

Why you don’t want cotton bush on your land……


Narrow leaf cotton bush is a formidable, highly invasive, opportunistic plant and every bit of it is toxic.

It is self-pollinating, flowers year-round, is fast growing and sets seed in its first year. It produces huge quantities of seed which disperse effectively by wind and water. Seeds also stick to animals and mud enabling spread by vehicles and machinery. Seeds remain viable in the soil for a long time and germinate in practically any conditions.  The plant is allelopathic, so it drops a chemical that prevents other plants, whether pasture grasses or natural bush, from growing. That gets rid of any competition.

Control of large areas of Cotton Bush can be very expensive and even crippling for farmers, particularly when their efforts are negated by new wind and water borne infestations coming in from somewhere else in the landscape.

Cotton Bush does not restrict itself to property boundaries, property size, use or management, which makes it a weed of significance to the whole community.

We can only beat Narrow Leaf Cotton Bush if the whole community is able to identify it, report it and take responsibility to eradicate it.

Narrow leaf cotton bush Management Calendar.png
  • Narrow leaf cotton bush can be treated with herbicide from September to April.

  • It can be controlled manually all year round when plants germinate

    • Ensure you wear adequate protective equipment to protect yourself from the toxic milky white sap

  • Narrow leaf cotton bush control measures can be found on the Department of Agriculture and Food website



Cotton bush invades pastures and can form dense thickets many hectares in size. It is toxic to livestock but is rarely eaten.


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