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Paterson's curse, Echium plantagineum
(Salvation Jane, Riverina bluebell, blue weed, purple bugloss)

Paddock of Paterson's curse
Rotten crown of Paterson's curse
Root weevil, Mogulones geographicus

Paterson's curse, introduced to Australia from Europe during the mid-nineteenth century, is Australia's worst broadleaf temperate pasture weed. Its high seed production (thousands of seeds per square metre), seed longevity of more than seven years and an ability to germinate at any time of year, given the right conditions, contribute to making it such a persistent weed.

Biological control of Paterson's curse started in earnest in the late 1980s after a court battle involving bee keepers and six agents have now been released. The first, a leaf-mining moth Dialectica scalariella, is widely distributed but has little impact. Of the remaining six, four are currently being actively redistributed across southern Australia.

The crown weevil (Mogulones larvatus) is the most damaging agent, often killing the weed outright on a large scale, at a number of sites in NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

The root weevil (Mogulones geographicus), the flea beetle (Longitarsus echii), the flower beetle (Meligethes planiusculus), and the stem-boring beetle, (Phytoecia coerulescens) are also established in all southern mainland states, the most promising of which are the focus of a nationwide redistribution program.

Supported by: Australian Wool Innovation, Meat and Livestock Australia

Stem-boring beetle, Phytoecia coerulescens