Resident fights a creepy pest
Moth vines are a national pest and a Westmere resident is advising her neighbours on how they can help in the fight to reduce their numbers.
Catherine Perry has started a campaign to inform neighbours of how to identify and control the moth plant by dropping flyers in their mailboxes.
‘‘The community has to get in behind this now,’’ she says.
‘‘We have to look after environmental weeds on our own properties as much as we can because the agencies do not have the resources.
‘‘As I walk about the Westmere area, I am becoming increasingly agitated at the proliferation of the insidious moth vine.
‘‘It is flowering magnificently right now, each flower resulting in a large pod containing up to 500 seeds, all of which are most likely to create yet another plant to smother anything in its path, including natives.’’
Mrs Perry first became aware of the moth plant when she mistook it for a ‘‘pretty vine’’.
That was more than 10 years ago and now she is aware of what damage it can cause to the native bush.
‘‘It could possibly be classified as the cat of the garden world,’’ she says.
Originating from South America and often found in garden hedges, the moth plant can climb in excess of five metres.
In urban areas, it becomes the dominant species and competes with or replaces native plant species. Its poisonous sap has an irritant effect.
It can also harm butterflies when their feeding parts become gummed up with the vine’s milky sap, leading to starvation and eventual death. Moths and bees can be trapped in the flowers too.
Armed with gloves and secateurs, the concerned resident often cuts the creeping stems off the plants she sees while out walking in the neighbourhood.
‘‘It is such a garden beast.
‘‘It will just take over if we leave it and we want to look after the plants we pay good money for to put into our own gardens, but more importantly, plants.’’
Concerned resident: Catherine Perry with some of the moth vines she has removed in her neighbourhood.