Journal of the Department of Agriculture, Western Australia, Series 4


Echium plantagineum, Biological control agents, Western Australia

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The long- delayed biological control programme for the weed Paterson's curse (Echium plantagineum) has begun with the release of the leaf mining moth (Dialectica scalariella)' an insect slightly bigger than a mosquito. Yhe caterpillar stage of the moth feeds inside the leaves, producing tunnels and chambers which damage the leaf.

The leaf mining moth has already become established in suitable areas. Although the familiar purple haze of Paterson's curse will continue to be seen for years to come, we expect that the leaf mining moth - and other agents yet to be released - will make it a more manageable weeed and less of a curse.