Two very similar little devils
THESE PLANTS are native to Mexico and the West Indies and are very similar in appearance, so whichever one you spot, you want to get rid of it. • They are found primarily from the Waikato north. • Both form erect, sprawling, multi-branched shrubs, reaching 1–1.5 m high but occasionally higher. • They are generally evergreen but may die back in winter. • Both have serrated green leaves in opposite pairs on dark, woody or purplishcoloured stems with sticky hairs. Mistflower leaves are poplar-shaped; Mexican devil leaves are long and narrow. • Both produce dense clusters of tiny cream flowers from August to January, followed by black seeds. • You’re most likely to spot them in forest, wetlands, streamsides, river systems, alluvial flats, coastal areas and islands, but they may pop up in gardens too. • They grow very densely, overtopping and changing the habitat of native groundcover plants. They are both quick maturing, long-lived and produce masses of highly viable, well-dispersed seed.