Capeweed (Arctotheca calendula), also known as African Daisy, is a native of South Africa and is a widespread annual weed of cultivated areas and pastures occurring in all states. It has been in Australia for many decades, predominantly in rural areas.
Like a number of broadleaf rosette-forming environmental weeds, Capeweed has benefited from the combination of years of drought followed by above average rainfall. It has been able to fill the gaps between grass tussocks that would ideally be filled by native grasses or wildflowers. It also colonises the disturbed edges of walking tracks and fire trails. Capeweed can spread from these sites into sparse native grassland or bare ground in forest and woodland.
Being a daisy, its seeds are spread some distance by the wind. It also loves disturbed areas where there is little competition from desirable grass species, and that is why it is abundant and dominates many mowed urban areas.
Capeweed is not a declared pest plant in the ACT and is regarded as a low priority pest plant to control. However, Rangers have been carrying out selective control of Capeweed at Mount Majura Nature Reserve where it is invading a wildflower habitat.
Environmental weeds like African Lovegrass and Serrated Tussock are highly invasive and tend to rapidly form monocultures in undisturbed areas. Capeweed is moderately invasive in comparison and tends to readily form monocultures in disturbed areas. The Environmental Weeds Operation Plan takes into account the invasiveness capability of weed species along with a range of other criteria when setting priorities for weed control within available public resources.