Weeds in Australia


Aeschynomene paniculata

 Pannicle Jointvetch (Aeschynomene paniculata) is a leguminous subshrub or shrub 1-2.5 m tall, with tough, spindly, reddish-brown, striated (grooved) stems. Leaves are compound and about 4-9 cm long. 40-80 single elliptic or oblong leaflets are arranged on 2-sides of the main leaf axis but without a terminal leaflet. The leaflets are sensitive to the touch.

The pea-shaped flowers are yellow, numerous and 6-7 mm long and are on stalks up to 10 mm long. The seed pods are stalked, straight or slightly curved and 15-22 mm long. The upper margins of the pods are shallowly indented, while the lower margins are strongly indented, with the indentations dividing each pod into 3-5 distinct sections called articles. The articles break free from each other when the pod matures (Lima 2006; Short 2007, pers. comm.).

For further information and assistance with identification of Pannicle Jointvetch contact the herbarium in your state or territory.


Pannicle Jointvetch is recorded in both Queensland and the Northern Territory. It is most widespread in Queensland, with sporadic occurrences along much of the east coast of the state. The largest infestation appears to be that at Batavia Downs on Cape York Peninsula. There are published records of small populations of this species at Birralee (Collinsville), Blue Mountain (near Mackay), Eungy (Mt Nebo), Glenfield (Sarina), Proserpine, Swans Lagoon (Ayr) and Koumala, while populations at Milgarra, Woodview, Mareeba and Mt Surprise may have been eradicated. In the Northern Territory the species is only known by a single specimen collected in 2005 from Fogg Dam (near Darwin) (Cunningham & Brown 2006; Short 2007, pers. comm.).


Analyses using the modelling tool CLIMATE suggest that the species has the potential to spread through north-eastern Queensland, the northern Northern Territory and northern Western Australia (Cunningham et al. 2004; Cunningham & Brown 2006).

Key points:
  • Pannicle Jointvetch (Aeschynomene paniculata) can develop into thickets which exclude useful pasture species.
  • If it spreads in Australia it is most likely to be a problem for woodlands and rangelands, not agricultural pastures.
  • It may be possible to control current infestations before further spread. However eradication appears problematic, not least because of problems with access to infestations during the wet season.
How it spreads:Pannicle Jointvetch is said to produce abundant, long-lived seed but no information as to any particular method of spread has been noted (Cunningham & Brown 2006).

Where it grows:Pannicle Jointvetch grows in warm tropical areas on marginal soils (Cunningham & Brown 2006).

Flower colour:Yellow
Distribution map:

http://affashop.gov.au/PdfFiles/sleeper_weeds_report_2006.pdf .


Pannicle Jointvetch is one of seventeen sleeper weeds identified by the Bureau of Rural Sciences (following consultation with the Australian Weeds Committee) which could have nationally significant impacts on agriculture if allowed to spread.


It is reported that Pannicle Jointvetch can develop into thickets which exclude useful pasture species and that it is most likely to be a problem for woodland and rangeland pastures than in cropping or agriculture. Grazing woodland is the primary land use currently impacted by this species particularly where it has escaped pasture plant evaluation sites at Batavia Downs (Cunningham et al. 2004; Cunningham & Brown 2006).

Origin:Pannicle Jointvetch is native to the Americas, including Mexico, Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Columbia and Paraguay. It is naturalised in Hawaii (GRIN 2007).


Pannicle Jointvetch was introduced into Queensland as a potential pasture species, trialled by the Queensland Department of Primary Industry. Due to the early shedding of leaves the species was deemed unsuitable as a fodder plant but it escaped from the experimental plots. Attempts to eradicate it from Batavia Downs on Cape York Peninsula appear to have had limited success (Cunningham et al. 2004; Cunningham & Brown 2006).


How the species arrived in the Northern Territory has not been unequivocally established but it seems likely that it is related to activities of the pastoral industry (Short 2007, pers. comm.).


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