In the latest edition of the Farming Secrets Digest Volume # 2 (See http://www.farmingsecretsdigest.com) under the heading ‘Weed of the Month: Paterson’s Curse or Salvation Jane’ Hugo and Helen Disler have included the following explanation which they’ve granted me permission to publish on Ochre Archives.
“Paterson’s Curse or Echium plantagineum is an introduced herb native to the Mediterranean region. The seed heads are up to 3 cm long. It flowers mainly late winter to early summer. Dispersal: Spread by seed. Long distance spread often via fodder.
Why does it grow?
Paterson’s Curse grows in compacted, acid soils with low levels of lime. It has a deep tap root which brings up copper and makes it drought tolerant.
Is it dangerous to stock?
Solve the problem!
Provide supplementary dolomite as a stock-lick in conditions where stock has to graze. Seaweed is also recommended. Don’t overgraze so good ground coverage remains. Chip out rosettes and leave on the ground as a message to the soil. Get the soil biologically active so that other plants grow to replace the Paterson’s Curse.”