The Gift that Keeps on Taking

Some exotic garden plants are just too good to keep yourself and you can’t help but share them around the neighbourhood and bushland…Their flowers are just stunning, they’re not bothered by pests and disease and they’re so tough they pop up all by themselves and look after themselves… They are of course weeds.

When released from the controls of their natural environment, where they have evolved over millennia, some plants thrive and spread rapidly in new environments. Some local examples include the Broad-leaf Privet Ligustrum lucidum.  A native of Southern China introduced to the Blackall Range early last century as quick growing small tree, great for windbreaks and gardens, with masses of pretty perfumed flowers (they pong) and copious quantities of fruit for the local wildlife (that’s how they spread). Next is Small Leaf Privet Ligustrum sinense native to China and SE Asia, they are a world class hedging plant and can be readily clipped to shape. It was introduced to the Blackall Range early last century and again with a masses of pretty perfumed flowers (they pong even more) and copious quantities of fruit for the local wildlife (to again spread). Relatively new as weeds in our area (only over the last few decades) are Champak Michelia champaca, Kahili ginger Hedychium gardnerianum and Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis. These are just the tip of the iceberg and these examples include only some plants whose fruit are spread by birds. Chuck in the wind dispersed Himalayan Ash Fraxinus griffithii and Cats Claw Creeper Dolichandra unguis-cati. Then add to that mix the vegetatively spread (stem and tuber) of Madeira vine Anredera cordifolia, Inch Plant Callisia repens, and Japanese Honeysuckle Lonicera japonica. The list just goes on and on and on and unfortunately, on.

Many of these plants are considered enough of a threat to agriculture, amenity and the natural environment that they are registered as Class 3 Declared weeds by the State, which means they cannot be sold and should me managed on your property. However many of the plants listed (and many more) are common garden plants throughout the hinterland and they are, as we speak, spreading into your neighbouring properties and Rainforest and Bushland remnants and triffid like their green tentacles spread across the landscape, consuming all in their path (I’m not usually one for sensational dramatics – but it works in this case don’t you think?)

How to solve this problem. 1) control your invasive exotics and 2) plant local native plants – it really is that simple.

About the Author
Brush Turkey Enterprises is an award-winning business based in Maleny, on the Sunshine Coast, South East Queensland.

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