Fireweed is an introduced daisy-like herb native to southern Africa. Fireweed was first recorded in Australia in the Hunter Valley in 1918. It is thought that fireweed arrived in the ballast of ships trading between Australia and Europe via Capetown. Fireweed spread slowly at first, but in the past 30 years has rapidly increased its range, most likely aided by modern transport and rural practices.
Fireweed is a Class 2 declared pest plant under Queensland legislation.
Fireweed can easily be mistaken for the closely related, native Senecio spp. particularly Senecio pinnatifolius and Senecio brigalowensis. Senecio brigalowensis is increasingly abundant and weedy in central Queensland from Roma to Rockhampton and will also cause cattle poisoning.