Chinese violet is a rapidly growing perennial creeper. It is a potentially serious environmental and agricultural weed in Australia as it can completely smother other vegetation, removing habitat, and reducing biodiversity and productivity. This weed grows in tropical and subtropical areas and threatens biodiversity in these areas.
Chinese violet is native to India, the Malay Peninsula and Africa. It is a major weed overseas, notably in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Pacific islands, where it infests crops such as rubber and coffee, but particularly palm oil plantations.
The subspecies has become invasive in Australia, with its first recording as naturalised made in New South Wales (NSW), at Boat Harbour north of Newcastle in 1999. It is now known to occur in a number of nearby locations, and was found at South West Rocks near Kempsey on the NSW Mid North coast in 2009. These infestations are currently subject to an eradication program and there are no other infestations currently known in NSW.
Chinese violet plants spread by seed and plant fragments and can flower and fruit year round.
The seeds are dispersed explosively from the drying fruit capsules. After most of the ripe capsules have released their seeds, the plant dies back to ground level. Winter frosts kill above-ground plant parts but plants regrow the following spring from their basal shoots.
Trailing stems can take root at each node when they come into contact with moist soil. Most infestations in Australia have occurred as a result of dumping garden waste or uncontrolled garden plantings growing into nearby areas.
Chinese violet grows in sprawling mats, it grows to 1 m high, but can grow over vegetation up to 3 m tall.
Another commonly cultivated subspecies of Chinese violet (Asystasia gangetica subspecies gangetica), is planted widely in Australia but is less weedy. This subspecies has purple flowers and is naturalised in North Queensland and in the Northern Territory.
Chinese violet infestations in Australia have all occurred on coastal sandy soils, but the plant is thought to tolerate a wide range of soil types, preferring full sun or part shade. Plants become spindly in deep shade.
Written by Peter Gorham and John Hosking 2003; 2012 edition reviewed by Rod Ensbey; Edited and prepared by Elissa van Oosterhout and Birgitte Verbeek.
CRC for Australian Weed Management (2003). Chinese violet Weed Management Guide. CRC for Australian Weed Management, Adelaide, South Australia.
Your local council weeds officer will assist with identification, control information and removal of this weed. Infestations can be spread by inappropriate control activities. New infestations can develop from any rhizomes that are moved or dropped during control activities. Early detection and eradication will prevent the spread of this weed.
See Using herbicides for more information.
PERMIT 13678 Expires 30/09/2017
MCPA 340 g/L + Dicamba 80 g/L (Kamba® M)
Rate: 100 mL per 15 L of water per 150 sq. m. (1 L /10 m2)
Comments: Spot spray application. Apply to actively growing weeds before seed set on the plants.
Withholding period: 7 days.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate
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State Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant