Stevia ovata - Candyleaf

Family: Asteraceae

Targetted for Eradication from the Atherton Tablelands

Origin: High elevation areas of Central and South America, grows in cool, sub-tropical and temerate climates.

Stevia ovata

Description

Stevia ovata is a multi-stemmed straggly shrub with arching canes topped by clusters of white daisy flowers in May-June. Like all daisies, the seeds are able to be dispersed by wind as well as water, stock, vehicles and machinery.

Both the leaves and branches are arranged opposite each other. The stem has a furry appearance that darkens to a reddish hue at the base. The plant forms a thick underground taproot which helps it to recover from dry periods, fire and physical damage. Stevia is a perennial plant that dies back in winter and reshoots in summer.

Reasons for Eradication

Stevia ovata was first recorded as naturalised from near Ravenshoe in 2007 at approximately 900 meters altitude.

Stevia ovata has formed dense infestations in both disturbed and undisturbed forests on the Southern Atherton Tablelands. Relatives of this species are used as a sugar substitute although this species has no commercial value.

Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (FNQROC) considers that Stevia ovata meets the criteria of a Class 1 pest plant (under the Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002) as it is not widely established in the state of Queensland (or the region) and has the potential to cause adverse economic, environmental and social impact in the State of Queensland, and within other states of Australia if the current outbreak is not contained or eradicated.

Stevia ovata - showing the structure of the plant; Stevia ovata - close up of the leaves showing shape.

Stevia ovata Stevia ovata leaves

Impacts

Stevia ovata - infestation

Stevia ovata infestation

Report infestations

If you find a weed that you think is Stevia ovata please report it to your Pest Management Officer at Tablelands Regional Council or TREAT, take care if transporting specimens not to spread the seeds, if possible take a photo or follow the instructions from the Queensland Herbarium on collecting specimens for identification.

More Information

For more information on Stevia ovata including the Pest Plant Risk Assessment from DAFF at DAFF - Candyleaf (Stevia ovata)

Images from Andrew Ford (CSIRO) and BIOTROPICA.

More weeds

Weeds Why bother? - Declared and significant weeds in Queensland - Lantana - Local Law Declared weeds - Stevia ovata (this page)

Environmental Weeds - A - C - D - K - L - R - S - Z - Weed glossary

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