A sinister weed regarded as one of Australia's worst has been detected in the greater Darwin region, sparking renewed warnings from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The weed features high on the Government's Alert List for Environmental Weeds - a list of 28 non-native plants which cause environmental havoc.
With a growth rate of up to 20 mm per day it has been known to take over crops in South-East Asia, forcing farmers to abandon and relocate.
It has also been found to be toxic to stock and increase the fuel load in bushfires.
DENR Weed Branch director, Nigel Weston, said the department is "working hard to ensure this outbreak is addressed strategically and rapidly."
"Siam weed is currently found in tropical Queensland and has the potential to spread across northern Australia and down the eastern and western coastline," Mr Weston said.
"That's why we are urging the public to be on the lookout and report and sightings to us by calling 89994567.
"Siam weed is a perennial plant that can out-compete and smother crops and native vegetation because of its phenomenal growth rate and ability to scramble up taller plants to a height of 20 metres."
Agriculture and horticulture industries across the Top End could be placed under severe threat if the weed spreads beyond control, Mr Weston said.
"Native to the Americas and now a serious weed in west Africa and tropical Asia, this is the first established infestation detected in the Northern Territory."
"Following the most recent detection south-west of Darwin we have notified the National Biosecurity Management Consultative Committee and are working closely with the landholders, as well as the Department of Primary Industry and Resources, to determine the full extent of the infestation and decide if eradication is a feasible target."
"Prevention and early intervention are the most cost-effective methods of weed control and we are working hard to ensure this outbreak is addressed strategically and rapidly."
Territorians are being urged to call the DENR Weed Management Branch on 89994567 if they spot Siam Weed.
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