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Senegal Tea

Mexico, South America

General description

Emergent, aquatic, perennial herb < 1.5 m tall. Stems are hollow when mature, buoyant and form dense floating mats. Leaves are < 20 x 5 cm. Flowerheads are white, clover-like and borne in December – May. Seeds ripen in summer – autumn.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell Senegal tea. As Senegal tea is a National Pest Plant Accord species, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand.
  • You must not plant Senegal tea within the Auckland region.
Auckland Council will manage Senegal tea at all sites where it is known to occur.

If you see Senegal tea anywhere in the Auckland region, please report it to Auckland Council at

Damp soils, still or slow-moving water body margins.

Sets seed. Vegetative spread from stem fragments. Seed and stem fragments dispersed by water movement. Human-mediated dispersal through contamination of machinery and deliberate plantings.

Forms floating mats, blocking streams and drainage tunnels, altering water flow dynamics and exacerbating flooding. Potential to replace short-stature herbaceous wetland plant communities. May impact mauri of wai māori.

Site Management

Recommended approaches

Do not attempt to undertake control of this species. Please report to Auckland Council.

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

alligator weed
Alternanthera philoxeroides

Alligator weed has a hollow stem and lacks the serrated, wavy leaf margins. The plant also has a reddish tinge and has single flowers.

water primrose
Ludwigia peploides ssp. montevidensis

Water primrose has alternate leaves and yellow flowers.

RPMP status

National Pest Plant Accord Species
Whole region (Progressive Containment, council delivered)
Senegal tea - Main species image