Freckle face – Hypoestes phyllostachya

Polkadot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya) is regarded as an environmental weed in parts of Queensland and New South Wales, and as a “sleeper weed” or potential environmental weed in other parts of Australia. It has escaped cultivation as a garden plant and has become naturalised along waterways, in riparian areas, in open woodlands and on rainforest margins in the warmer and wetter parts of eastern Australia. This species prefers shaded habitats and can form dense carpets of vegetation in the understorey of native bushland.

It is currently of greatest concern in south-eastern Queensland, where it is listed among the top 200 most invasive plants species, and appears on numerous local environmental weed lists in this region (e.g. in the Gold Coast City, Redlands Shire, Cooloola Shire, Caboolture Shire and Maroochy Shire).

Polkadot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya) has also been recorded from conservation areas in northern New South Wales (e.g. in Coorumbene Nature Reserve and Billinudgel Nature Reserve), and is listed as an environmental weed in the Northern Rivers Catchment and in Bellingen Shire. Though it is not yet formally regarded as being naturalised on the New South Wales Central Coast, it is included in the Gosford City environmental weeds list, is regarded as an undesirable plant species in Hornsby Shire Council, and is listed as a weed in Cooper Park in suburban Sydney.

Native to Madagascar.



How does this weed affect you?

Freckle face is a garden escapee that readily outcompetes understorey along waterways, riparian area, woodlands and rainforest margins. It is a problem in coastal areas, where is prefers, warm, wet and shaded habitats.


Can easily be removed by hand. Best removed after rain when the ground is soft so that the plant, along with the root system is removed.


    1. Department of Primary Industries – NSW WeedWise
    2. Environmental Weeds of Australia Biosecurity