IPOH - The highly-allergenic parthenium hysterophorus, described as the "worst weed of the century", has been discovered in six districts in Perak.
State Agriculture Department (DOA) director Zabidi Dun said the weed, locally known as Rumpai Miang Mexico, was discovered in Kinta, Hulu Perak, Perak Tengah, Kuala Kangsar, Manjung and Larut, Matang and Selama districts.
He said the department, together with the locals which included farmers, were taking measures to destroy the weed, found in 44 locations.
"We have set up a committee to look into the matter," said Zabidi.
"After the issue was highlighted in the media, people have been calling us to provide information," he said yesterday.
"In Perak, the weed has been found in residential areas, farms and grazing fields," said Zabidi.
"Some people may have unknowingly used the weed for landscaping purposes."
Last week, The Star reported that the weed had encroached on grassland in Malaysia, causing allergic reactions in people.
Believed to have been spread by the import of animals from weed-infested countries, all state agricultural agencies have been alerted of the P. hysterophorus, which does not only harm humans, but also severely affects agriculture, livestock and the natural ecosystems.
Zabidi warned the public to be careful of the weed.
"It looks like the ulam raja. The flowers of the weed are white and small.
"The ulam raja has pink and bigger flowers," he pointed out.
"The leaves of ulam raja has a scent to it. This weed has none."