Hypoestes phyllostachya (ACANTHACEAE) Polka-dot Weed

Weeds to Whack

A small shrub often grown in gardens for its attractive leaves marked with pink dots. In the ten years to 2021, Polka-dot Weed has gone from potential weed to a serious threat to native vegetation in the Enoggera Catchment. It can form dense monocultures in shady areas. Not known as a weed outside Australia, it is native to Madagascar. Variegated, ovate, dark green leaves are to 10 cm. Foliage coloration is often more pronounced in a shaded location.

Photo: Robert Whyte


Magenta, lavendar or blue flowers sometimes with white inside occur in terminal and axillary cymes during the summer season. It’s difficult to manage with methods and herbicides available to volunteers. It grows back quickly after hand removal or treatment with glyphosate. Habitat Brisbane volunteers should approach their Habitat Brisbane Officer for advice.
Photo: Robert Whyte