Do you have this weed in your yard? Experts say the Stinknet is causing major problems

Published: Apr. 4, 2023 at 11:08 PM MST|Updated: Apr. 6, 2023 at 9:38 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Several agencies in Southern Arizona are teaming up to battle a new invasive species taking over the Sonoran Desert.

According to Tony Figueroa, the invasive plant program manager for Tucson Audubon, said the wet weather in the Old Pueblo over the past few months has made it the perfect condition for the Stinknet Weed to invade parts of Tucson.

“This is invading our Sonoran Desert,” Figueroa said. “We can see it here and we can manage it in the city but it takes an army to control this stuff.”

The invasive weed has taken over close to 2 1/2 acres near Stone Ave and Pastime Road.

Figueroa adds the Stinknet Weed may look like a pretty wildflower in the distance but the yellow weed could cause a huge problem. He said the plant isn’t native to the Sonoran Desert which has those battling the investigation a major concern.

“My crews got out here and their eyes just exploded,” Figueroa said. “Like woah, this is enormous.”

The yellow sphere weed can spread like wildfire since it is known to produce thousands of powder-filled seeds. This is one of the many reasons why the Stinknet weed is much different than the usual invasive weeds we typically see in Southern Arizona.

“This plant especially has the ability to spread into undisturbed Sonoran Desert habitat,” Figueroa tells 13 News. “That is one of the differences between Buffelgrass and a lot of common invasives.”

The weed which Figueroa said has taken over the Phoenix area wasn’t seen in Tucson until 2015. Since then, those battling the problem have been able to maintain the invasion very well. That is, until the recent wet season.

“This is the worst infestation within Tucson,” Figueroa said. “You can see how quickly and how entirely it will consume an area if given a chance.”

The weed isn’t deadly but it can cause rashes and headaches. Figueroa said the pollen can cause people with Asthma to experience flare-ups. However, Figueroa said the weed is most dangerous when it is dried out.

“It burns, it burns hot,” Figueroa said. “It produces a smoke that is acrid which is corrosive to the lining of your lungs.”

If you do happen to see this invasive weed in your backyard, it’s important you remove it and make sure you report it where it was found HERE.

This way they’re able to track which part of town this weed is being seen, so they’re able to stop the weed from spreading.