The invasive weed Parthenium hysterophorus has now been discovered in Malacca and Johor, said Agriculture Department director-general Datuk Ahmad Zakaria Mohd Sidek.
This brings the total number of known affected states to six, with Negri Sembilan, Kedah, Selangor and Perak previously reporting infestations.
“So far, more than 1,500 P. hysterophorus plants have been found spread around Johor, although the number could be higher,” Ahmad Zakaria said.
“As we discover more infestations or if the public comes forward to inform us of infested areas, we will update our figures,” he said at a press conference here on Thursday.
He said that the Department would be meeting experts and scientists next week to further discuss methods of controlling the outbreak.
The P. hysterophorus has been dubbed the â€œworst weed of the centuryâ€, destroying native flora and crops, causing rashes that can leave humans permanently scarred and damaging the intestines of animals that eat it.
It was first detected here in September last year in Ulu Yam, Selangor.
Initial accounts show that the plant has even resisted attempts to control it through weedkillers.
A species of flowering plant native to Mexico, it can cause severe skin disease and hayfever in humans.
It is also toxic to livestock such as goats and cows, causing fevers, ulcers, anorexia and intestinal damage, and can quickly replace native flora by releasing toxic substances, causing massive crop loss.
Similar in appearance to ulam raja, P. hysterophorus is classified as a dangerous pest under the Plant Quarantine Regulations 1981 and can quickly propagate.-The Star