Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Colombian waxweed (488)

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  • Worldwide distribution. In Australia, American Samoa. Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji. French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Northern Mariana Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu.
  • Invasive weed, abundant seed, forms rapidly-growing dense stands in crops, pastures, wetlands, along river banks and roads.
  • Erect, up to 60cm, red or green stems with dense sticky hairs. Leaves oval, in pairs, short stalks, Flowers single or in clusters at leaf forks or end of branches, with green or reddish tube and purple petals, and capsule inside containing black seeds.
  • Spread: seed moved by water, livestock, machinery. Planted as ornamental.
  • Biosecurity: introduction as ornamental. Note, seed is sticky.
  • Biocontrol: none.
  • Cultural control: hand-weed, but do not slash or mow (it helps spread the seed). Clean machinery/vehicles.
  • Chemical control: in Australia, fluroxypyr; glyphosate; triclopyr + picloram; triclopyr + picloram + aminopyralid; 2,4-D + picloram; 2,4-D + picloram + aminopyralid.
Common Name

Colombian waxweed. It is also known as tarweed, and Colombian cuphea.

Scientific Name

Cuphea carthagenensis. It is a member of the Lythraceae.

AUTHOR Grahame Jackson
Information from Colombian waxweed (Cuphea carthagenensis) (2011) Your alert to new and emerging threats. technigro. Australia. (; and Fern K, et al. (2014) Useful Tropical Plants Database. (; and CABI (2015) Cuphea cathagenensis (Colonian weed). Invasive Species Compendium. (; and from Jennings N (2016) Controlling Colombian waxweed (Cyphea carthagenensis) in pastures. FactSheet. Local Land Services North Coast. NSW. ( Photo 1 Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia, Photos 2-3 Forest & Kim Starr, Starr Environmental (Flikr). (

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project HORT/2016/185: Responding to emerging pest and disease threats to horticulture in the Pacific islands, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

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