Biological Control Project for Trad

CSIRO provides infected plant material for regeneration project

Biological Control Project for Trad

CSIRO provides infected plant material for regeneration project

Collaborations -


The issue

Killabakh & Lower Cedar Party Landcare Group identified Wandering Trad (Tradescantia fluminensis) as a weed threat to areas of Killabakh Creek. This included the Alfred Road Reserve site that had been a Landcare Project for many years. 

Group members could see young seedlings and smaller plants being overrun.

Wandering Trad is a native from South America.  It’s a major weed in Australia. It forms a dense cover on the forest floor that smothers native seedlings, reducing succession of native vegetation and clogs waterways.

It can also cause skin irritations to domestic pets and some humans.

The solution

A member of the Landcare group saw an article showcasing a biological control being trialed by CSIRO. The group made contact with research staff, explained the issue and discussed having a trial release in Killabakh. 

The possible solution is a leaf smut fungus (Kordyana brasiliensis). The smut spreads through spores, and it needs wandering trad leaves to survive. This pathogen enters wandering trad through the leave’s air holes (stomata), and slowly uses the weed’s energy for its own fungal growth.

After two to three weeks, the leaves begin to develop yellow spots, caused by a lack of chlorophyll. Eventually the fungal infection is so severe that the wandering trad leaves die.

The sick plant becomes less competitive against neighbouring native plants, giving them an advantage, and the opportunity to grow.

The impact

In June 2021 members of the Landcare group planted 100 infected runners supplied by CSIRO. 

The areas with infected plant material have been marked so that they can be monitored. 

The results of the monitoring will be recorded and sent to CSIRO and shared with the local community. 

It is hoped that infected plant material will be able to be moved to other Trad infested sites throughout the Manning.  The story was shared in the local Killabakh Chronicle and on social media.

Key facts

  • Science providing solutions to land management issues.
  • CSIRO harnessing Landcare groups to field trial biological controls for weeds

Project Partners