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MRC targets toxic plant in campaign

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June 15, 2017

MURRAY River Council is carrying out annual inspections for a toxic plant.

The African boxthorn, a noxious weed in most parts of NSW and a serious weed threat, is a large intricately branched shrub standing up to 5m high and 3m across.

It has long sharp spines of around 15cm long, small bright green, smooth and slightly fleshy leaves with small white flowers and purple markings and red tomato like berries.

It often grows under trees, fences and power lines and forms an impenetrable, spiny thicket which inhibits the movement of stock and provides a haven for feral animals.

Many insects, including fruit fly, the common house fly and the tomato fly, breed in the fruit of this weed.

The plant is toxic to humans and will cause discomfort and irritation, but is not life-threatening.

The berries, leaves, stems and roots are all poisonous, and can cause nausea, vomiting, breathing difficulties and unconsciousness.

Murray River Council has this advice for a case of poisoning:

■ If the patient is unconscious, unresponsive or having difficulty breathing, dial 000 or get to the emergency section of a hospital immediately.

■ If the patient is conscious and responsive, call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 or your doctor.

■ If going to a hospital take a piece of the plant for identification.

Control methods vary and information can be found at weeds.dpi.nsw.gov.au/weeds/details/1

For information, phone weeds officer Matt Wooden on 0429 664 509.

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