Lycopus europaeus


Family: Lamiaceae

Origin: Eurasia

Gypsywort young leaves with small flowers.
Perennial shrub less than 1m tall. Stems are square to the touch.
Photo credit: John R Crellin 2008

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Whole region — Sustained control
  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Emergent aquatic perennial herb < 1 m tall. Stems are square. Leaves are < 8.5 x 3 cm and toothed. Flowers are small, white/pale pink/purple and borne in summer – autumn. Nutlets are minute and borne in summer – autumn.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell gypsywort within the Auckland region.
  • You must not plant gypsywort within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any gypsywort on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.


Water body margins, ditches, pasture, wasteland.


Seeds dispersed by water and livestock. Vegetative spread from stolons. Human-mediated dispersal through contamination of machinery and footwear.

Impact on environment

Spreads rapidly and grows fast. Potential to displace native vegetation.


Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: All parts.

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications:For infestations on terrestrial sites: foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water.

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: For infestations on terrestrial sites: foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant. For infestations on aquatic sites: foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water.

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

Gypsywort plant growing at cabbage tree base.
Seeds can be spread by water or livestock or on machinery. Invades pasture, waste areas and stream edges.
Photo credit: John R Crellin 2008