Help stop evo­lu­tion of this plant pest

Matamata Chronicle - - What’s On - WAIKATO WEEDWATCH

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.

WEEDBUSTERS

An ex­am­ple of the berries of the Dar­win’s Bar­berry.

Flower and leaf of Dar­win’s Bar­berry.

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