Scientific name - this is a
universally used Latin name for the weed. It has the advantages of being
able to be recognised in all languages and avoids confusion where several
common names may be used for a particular species depending on local
customs. It is usually made up of two parts - the genus name and the species
name. Following the scientific name is its author citation (this is the name
of the botanist(s) that described the species and determined its taxonomy (ie.
which plant family and genus the species belongs to, etc.).
Synonyms - a synonym is
an alternative, usually previously used, scientific name. These occur when botanical study determines that a species was originally wrongly
identified or placed in the wrong genus etc. A species can have several
synonyms if its taxonomy has been difficult to define in the past.
Common names - these are
the most widely used common names for this species.
Family - this is the
plant family to which the species belongs. In plant taxonomy, closely
related or similar species are grouped together into a plant genus. Then, at
a higher level, closely related genera (the plural for genus) are grouped
into a plant family.
Origin - most weeds are
introduced species. This means that they originate from other countries and
have become naturalised here in Australia. Some weeds were originally
introduced as garden plants (ie. ornamentals), while others were accidentally
Habit - this is the
general appearance of the plant and usually includes a mention of its form
(whether it is a tree. shrub, herb, vine etc.) and its growth habit (whether
it is erect, prostrate etc.).
Habitat - the types of
environments in which the weed is usually found growing. Whether it grows in
gardens, footpaths, lawns, parks, forests, creeks, disturbed sites, on
General Description -
this is the main description of the species and is divided into two parts -
"Stems & leaves" and "Flowers & fruit". These brief descriptions are
generally in plain English, but with the equivalent botanical term in
Distinguishing Features - this section describes the distinguishing features of the species, and
gives comparisons with any very similar species. Its main usefulness is to
provide information on how to distinguish between two or more very similar
species, which you may not be able to separate using the general characters
found in the Lucid key.
Noxious Status -
the main purpose of this section is to notify whether this species has
been declared noxious by any state government authorities. Weed species are
declared noxious for a wide variety of reasons (ie. they invade native
ecosystems, are a danger to public health, etc), but they all fall
under the general view that if they are left unchecked they may cause
serious economic, social or environmental impacts. If the
species is noxious, a link is provided to the appropriate government
website where further information can be obtained on its status and
recommended control measures.
Sources - this is
a list of the resources that were consulted during the preparation of
the fact sheet and are therefore the most appropriate sources for
further information about the species concerned.
Finally, most of the fact sheets also have small images of
the habit, flowers, leaves, fruit and/or seedlings of the weed, and some
have images of particular features, in order to help aid or confirm the
identification of the weed. Larger images can be viewed by clicking on the
species information button in the Lucid key.