Two very sim­i­lar lit­tle devils

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Contents -

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.

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