Weeds in Australia


Agapanthus spp.


Agapanthus (A. praecox subsp. praecox and A. praecox subsp. orientalis) is an erect perennial herb with flowering stems to about 1.2m high, which forms large clumps over time. Leaves are long and strap-like, glossy and dark green. Its flowers are blue or white, tubular and held in large spherical clusters at the top of robust smooth stems about 1m long. The black, winged seeds are enclosed in a leathery green capsules which dries to pale brown. Dwarf forms are sold, which are identical to the typical form, but smaller (Eurobodalla Shire Council undated)


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


Agapanthus is emerging as a potential weed threat in parts of New South Wales and Victoria because of its hardiness and drought resistance. In the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, the ledges below the Three Sisters lookout are full of Agapanthus, in place of the native flora (McFadyen 2005).

Key points:
  • Agapanthus is a native of South Africa.
  • It is a very common hardy horticultural plant.
  • Reproduction is vegetatively by rhizomes and by seed.
  • The rhizomatous roots clump and crowd out other vegetation.
  • Removal is best done manually, as herbicide treatment is not very effective.
How it spreads:

Agapanthus reproduces by seed and vegetatively by rhizome (root) growth or fragments, the underground structure forming large continually extending clumps. Seeds are also easily transported by soil movement, wind, waterways and by dumping garden waste in bushland areas. It is commonly sold at markets, nurseries, fetes and club fundraisers (Shire of Yarra Ranges undated; WBMB undated).

Where it grows:

Sunny situations are preferred, but Agapanthus will invade forest edges and open forest. It tolerates a wide range of conditions from damp to very dry (Eurobodalla Shire Council undated; Shire of Yarra Ranges undated).

Flower colour:Blue, White, Purple
Distribution map: Weed Distribution Map not available for this weed.

Agapanthus invades gardens, bushland and roadside areas, and can also invade pasture, spreading from nearby gardens. It tolerates a wide range of conditions from damp to very dry and takes over and displaces indigenous grasses and groundcovers. It forms dense stands, where its dense clumping roots displaces all other vegetation and smothers native groundcovers, prevents regeneration of trees and shrubs, and eliminates habitat for native fauna. It has been promoted as a fire-resistant plant for residential gardens in fire-prone areas since the lush clumps are likely to be very fire retardant (ACTPLA 2005). However, it could also have an impact on fire frequency in native vegetation, making infested bush difficult to burn. The leaves and roots are poisonous and can cause ulceration of the mouth. It also attracts large numbers of snails and slugs (Eurobodalla Shire Council undated; Shire of Yarra Ranges undated; WBMB undated).


Agapanthus is a native of South Africa (WBMB undated).


The history of the introduction of Agapanthus into Australia is unknown. It was presumably introduced as a garden ornamental.


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