Smelly in­vader

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - WEEDWATCH Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil

Woolly night­shade, also known as to­bacco weed, is a cap­sicumsmelling South Amer­i­can in­vader that can dam­age farm pas­ture and pre­vent the es­tab­lish­ment of na­tive plants be­side wa­ter­ways.

It can also pose a threat to hu­man and soil health.

Un­for­tu­nately it has made it­self right at home in the north­ern ar­eas of New Zealand and is seek­ing to ex­pand its ter­ri­tory fur­ther down the coun­try.

It loves the Waikato and can grow to 10 me­tres tall here.

This pest has soft stems and large, vel­vety light green leaves that are whitish un­der­neath. Clus­ters of pur­ple flow­ers de­velop into large round berries.

Woolly night­shade can pop up in gar­dens at any time. It grows and ma­tures rapidly, form­ing dense tall stands and pro­duc­ing many well-dis­persed seeds most of year.

The plant is cov­ered in a fine dust that can causes al­ler­gic re­ac­tions or rashes in some peo­ple. It also pro­duces tox­ins that poi­son the soil around it.

Woolly night­shade is not fussy about con­di­tions, tol­er­at­ing wet and dry, salt, hot to cool tem­per­a­tures, semi-shade, dam­age and graz­ing.

In terms of what to do, seedlings can be pulled out by hand. Larger plants can be cut down and the stumps im­me­di­ately painted with a suit­able her­bi­cide or sprayed.

For more in­for­ma­tion on con­trol meth­ods, visit .

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