Bad buzz from im­ported weed

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - WAIKATO WEEDWATCH

Ever­green buck­thorn, a pest plant im­ported for or­na­men­tal pur­poses and used as a win­ter feed for bees, has been creating a bad buzz in parts of our re­gion.

Win­ter’s a good time for the pub­lic to be keep­ing an eye out for ever­green buck­thorn as it’s when the plant pro­duces small green flow­ers and more ob­vi­ous glossy dark green berries (that even­tu­ally turn red then black).

Orig­i­nally from the Mediter­ranean re­gion, ever­green buck­thorn is found in ar­eas around the Waikato, in­clud­ing east­ern sub­urbs and Glen­view in Hamil­ton, parts of the Coro­man­del and near Te Kauwhata.

Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil has de­clared ever­green buck­thorn a to­tal con­trol species, mean­ing the coun­cil is re­spon­si­ble for con­trol and work­ing with landown­ers gen­er­ally to erad­i­cate it.

Ever­green buck­thorn is a multi-stemmed shrub, tol­er­at­ing dry and ex­posed con­di­tions. It is con­sid­ered a se­ri­ous pest plant be­cause each plant pro­duces a lot of berries from a young age, which are spread by birds.

It can take over stream and for­est mar­gins, chang­ing the struc­ture of na­tive ecosys­tems. The plant looks sim­i­lar to camel­lia and karamu but ever­green buck­thorn has two small bumps at the base of the top side of leaves.

The leaves also al­ter­nate along the sides of branches in­stead of be­ing matched. The berries grow in clus­ters and are up to seven mil­lime­tres long.

Hamil­ton has been a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus for erad­i­ca­tion. The coun­cil has been con­trol­ling it there for the past 10 years.

The good news is that num­bers in Hamil­ton have now re­duced to a very low level. But that means re­mov­ing al­ready es­tab­lished plants and any new in­fes­ta­tions early is vi­tal. Sight­ings can be re­ported to the coun­cil’s pest plant staff on 0800 246 732.

-Sup­plied by Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.