Help stop evolution of this plant pest
Darwin’s barberry is poised to evolve into a serious forestry pest in the Waikato region.
It will move from your garden into farmland and areas of exotic and indigenous forest unless it is controlled.
There are already dense infestations in the vicinity of Rainbow Mountain in the Bay of Plenty, and these extend continuously into exotic forests in that region and threaten the entire Kaingaroa Forest.
There is also a significant population adjacent to the Waikato located in the ManawatuWhanganui region, south-west of Pureora.
Darwin’s barberry is shade tolerant and survives wet, dry, hot, cold, full sun, and low light conditions.
Spread by birds it get into bush easily and thrives there quite nicely, growing thickly and exclusively to eventually block everything else out – even gorse and broom.
It threatens lightly grazed pastures, regenerating bush and restoration projects.
This woody evergreen shrub grows to a height of four to five metres.
It has shiny dark-green spiny leaves that are smaller than holly and drooping flower clusters of characteristic deep orange flowers. Waikato Regional Council is currently on the lookout for this weed, so if you think you have it popping up in your garden, phone 0800BIOSEC (0800 246 732) and discuss with a pest plant officer the best way to destroy it.
If you are thinking of replacing your Darwin’s Berry, natives that make good hedges or windbreaks include the aptly named wirenetting bush/ korokio (Corokia cotoneaster) or rohutu (Lophomyrtus obcordata), a shrub with heart-shaped leaves.
Alternatively, marbleleaf /putaputaweta (Carpodetus serratus) is a smallish tree with lovely dark green marbled leaves and masses of white flowers.
An example of the berries of the Darwin’s Barberry.
Flower and leaf of Darwin’s Barberry.