Eradication efforts underway after extremely invasive “satan’s herb” discovered on Island of Hawaii

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – A highly invasive plant known as “Devil’s Weed” was first found on the Island of Hawaii.

The Big Island Invasive Species Committee confirmed the occurrence of Chromolaena odorata near the Hilo motocross track and in two locations in Puna. Prior to this discovery, devil weed was also found in areas of Oahu.

The invasive plant is known as “devil’s herb” because of its pitchfork-shaped leaf pattern.

The group said the plant was listed as a “noxious weed” in the state and listed as one of the world’s worst invasive species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Environmentalists said the weeds can grow up to two meters tall, form a thick thicket, and damage surrounding native species.

The plant is also poisonous to farm animals and has caused severe damage to ranchers and farmers in weed-infested pastures.

BIISC also warns that it could also pose a fire hazard, especially in arid areas.

After discovering the weeds near the motocross track, officials are urging drivers and ATV users to be on high alert to ensure they don’t spread the plant’s seeds.

Officials said the seeds were not very noticeable and could easily stick to hats, gloves, bags or other material, as well as in the mud on tires.

The Hawaii County’s Department of Research and Development is funding the BIISC to support detection and eradication efforts, including helping with the use of a dog detector to locate the weeds in larger areas.

The BIISC recommends residents not to remove the weeds themselves, but to report them immediately.

Photos can be emailed to [email protected] or submitted to the Big Island Invasive Species Committee via Facebook or Instagram.

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