Worrying Weeds of Wamboin: Topped Lavender (Lavandula stoechas)

The first in a series. Residents of Wamboin are (or as land managers should be) aware of the listed invasive species that impact natural ecosystems and “productive” areas in our region. Land managers have a responsibility to manage the species listed on local weed listings. However, there are a growing number of other potentially invasive species that are not listed, but which have the capacity over time to become as troublesome and damaging as the officially listed species. Gearys Gap/Wamboin Landcare Group will publish occasional short articles on the rising number of these species.

Worrying Weeds of Wamboin No 1

Topped Lavender (Lavandula stoechas)

This species is known by a variety of other common names including bush lavender, French lavender, Italian lavender, Spanish lavender, top lavender and wild lavender. 

Topped Lavender is native to Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Madeira Islands, Canary Islands, Greece, Italy, France, Portugal and Spain and western Asia.

Topped lavender has become widely naturalised in central and southern New South Wales, ACT and Victoria, eastern South Australia and south-western Western Australia, naturalising in humid and subhumid warm-temperate regions, usually with moderate rainfall, on a wide range of soils.  It occurs as a weed of poorer pasture areas, open woodlands, roadsides, disturbed sites, gardens, waste areas and waterways mainly in the temperate regions of Australia.  Topped lavender can form dense stands in these areas, eliminating habitat for wildlife.  It is not eaten by livestock resulting in the loss of production in infested areas.   It also provides harbour for rabbits and other feral animals.

In the Wamboin region topped lavender is a moderately popular plant in cultivation, as it is a hardy and attractive garden specimen.  It usually requires annual pruning to keep its form, and it is highly probable that the infestations starting to appear on roadsides in our region are due to seed being shed from pruning being transported to greenwaste recycling.  As this species has the potential to invade lowland grassland, grassy woodland and dry sclerophyll forest and woodland ecosystems and native pastures, it is recommended that any plants establishing away from planted specimens be removed, and that prunings be covered when transporting to greenwaste facilities.