Tropical Soda Apple
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council is urgently calling for all local landholders to inspect their farms and properties for a noxious weed called Tropical Soda Apple.
An outbreak of the highly invasive weed Tropical Soda Apple (Solanum viarum) has been detected on a farm in Bellangry. This weed has the ability to spread rapidly and impact all landscapes. It invades pastures and riparian zones, but also forests, roadsides, recreational areas, and horticultural and cropping areas. It reduces biodiversity by displacing native plants and disrupting ecological processes. Its foliage is unpalatable to livestock, thus reducing carrying capacities on farms, however cattle eat the fruit and spread viable seeds in manure. Thorny thickets of this plant create a physical barrier for animals preventing access to shade and water. The plant is a host for many diseases and pests of cultivated crops, and it contains solasodine which is poisonous to humans.
For these reason Tropical Soda Apple has the highest biosecurity control obligations under the Biosecurity Act 2015 in the state. Landholders who have found this plant must contact their local council weeds officer for assistance with identification, control and eradication. Owners and occupiers of land on which there is tropical soda apple must; destroy the plants including the fruit; ensure subsequent generations are destroyed; and ensure the land is kept free of the plant.
Infestations can be spread by inappropriate control activities, partially with cattle movements.Landholders in affected areas should focus their efforts on checking for this plant, and holding any new cattle that come onto their properties for at least 6 days. It is illegal to knowingly transport the seeds of this plant inside an animal, or to knowingly buy or sell an animal that contains seeds.
Tropical soda apple (Solanum viarum), is an aggressive, prickly, perennial shrub 1–2 m high. If not controlled a few plants will form a hectare sized thicket in 6 months, with each plant producing 150 fruit containing 45 000 seeds each year. Herbicides kill the plants, but do not kill the seeds inside the fruit. In the USA, this plant infested over half a million hectares in 5 years.
To assist landholders in correctly identifying Tropical Soda Apple, please refer to the attached image which compares it to its two look-a-likes, Devil’s apple and Apple of Sodom.
It is important to find plants early. Checking paddocks and waterways every 3 weeks is essential, particularly during spring and summer is critical for finding new plants. Landholders in areas where the plant is known to occur need to be vigilant.
- Check cattle camps, stock yards, feed-out areas and holding paddocks.
- Check waterways, drains, gullies, floodplains, flats and areas of flood debris.
- Check fence lines, forested areas, tracks, roads and feral animal haunts.
If you find tropical soda apple, contact your Council’s weeds officer on 65818111 as soon as possible for advice and assistance to eradicate it from your property.
The Biosecurity Risk of this weed to the farming community and the environment is extreme. For voluntary reported infestations Port Macquarie – Hastings Council’s Invasive Weed Team will provide free inspection and control service of this plant for the first year to assist with landholders meeting their Biosecurity Act obligations
Tropical Soda Apple is regulated by a Control Order under the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015 and applies to all landholders and carriers of stock. The Control Order specifies that individuals must report occurrences of this weed within 24 hours of detection.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council is urgently calling for all local residents to inspect their properties for a noxious weed called Chinese Violet.
Chinese violet is a rapidly growing and hardy creeper that has the potential to invade many coastal and sub-coastal areas in the region.
If left uncontrolled it:
- completely smothers native ground covers and understorey plants;
- forms dense and continuous infestations;
- prevents the germination and establishment of other species;
- removes habitat for native fauna; and
- reduces biodiversity and productivity.
For these reasons, Chinese Violet has the highest biosecurity control obligations under the Biosecurity Act 2015 in the state. Residents who have found this plant must contact their local council weeds officer for assistance with identification, control and eradication.
Where are you likely to find it?
Chinese violet is a native of India, the Malay Peninsula and Africa. It was recorded as naturalised near Newcastle in 1999 and South West Rocks in 2009. There is now an isolated infestation in the Hastings region.
It may be found in home gardens as an ornamental, though is banned from sale in NSW.
So far in NSW, Chinese violet has been found in coastal sandy soils, although in the Hastings it has been found on a riverbank in part shade. It has the potential to invade a wide range of environments.
What does it look like?
- a creeping plant with opposite leaves and lightly hairy stems, growing up to 1m tall
- Leaves are paler beneath, oval to triangular in shape
- forms sprawling mats and can clamber over adjacent vegetation
- stems can root at the nodes in moist soil
- white bell-shaped flowers 2-2.5cm long with distinct purple blotches in two parallel lines
- fruit capsules 3cm long and guitar-shaped
If you find Chinese Violet, contact your Council’s weeds officer on 6581 8111 as soon as possible for advice and assistance to eradicate it from your property.
The Biosecurity Risk of this weed to our community and the environment is extreme. For voluntary reported infestations Port Macquarie – Hastings Council’s Invasive Weed Team will provide free inspection and control service of this plant for the first year to assist with identification and eradication.
Chinese Violet is regulated by a Control Order under the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015 and applies to all residents. The Control Order specifies that individuals must report occurrences of this weed within 24 hours of detection.
African Tulip Tree
The African Tulip Tree (Spathodea campanulata) is a fast growing evergreen to semi-deciduous tree, growing to 24m in height. It has broad, oval-shaped leaves with distinct veins and a deep, glossy green colour. Flowers are large orange-red in colour with yellow frilly edges, with seed capsules up to 20cm long. It is native to tropical Africa and is popular as an ornamental garden or street tree in northern New South Wales and Queensland due to its showy, red tulip-shaped flowers.
In recent years it has gained recognition overseas (mainly Brazil) and now here in Australia, as a potential threat to insects who visit the flower (particularly native stingless bees) through certain toxins in the nectar and pollen that are harmful to insects. Whilst studies have been undertaken overseas, there is currently no published data from Australia on the exact level of threat posed by the African tulip tree. Some experts are adamant that African tulip tree is an immediate threat to native bee populations whereas others believe that the impact is minimal.
Current Management Priorities
The African tulip tree is a restricted invasive plant under the Queensland Biosecurity Act 2014 and cannot be sold or traded there.
With regard to the New South Wales Biosecurity Act 2015, the tree is listed in the North Coast Regional Strategic Weed Management Plan 2017-2022 - A2.1 North Coast LLS weed watch list. This means that the species has been identified as having a potential biosecurity risk to the region, however, it has not been subjected to a weed risk assessment just yet due to lack of appropriate information and research. The tree has, however, been nominated as a candidate for a weed risk assessment and it is expected that one will be completed in the near future.
Council weed management staff are currently mapping the extent of African tulip tree in our region and assessing its potential to spread. This information will enable us to develop a management plan based on the outcome of a completed regional weed risk assessment.
Any African tulip trees found in our managed bushland reserves will be removed as far is as practicable.
What can I do?
If you are concerned about the presence of African tulip tree on your property, you are welcome to contact Councils Biosecurity Officer. If you wish to remove African tulip tree please note that you do not require Council approval to remove it. The tree is on Councils Undesirable and Exempt tree species list.
Council Biosecurity Officer can be contacted via phone on (02) 6581 8111 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Glory lily (Gloriosa superba) is a beautiful yet toxic plant that can quickly invade coastal ecosystems including sand dunes, heathlands and coastal forests.
Glory lily is a native of Africa and Asia. It has been cultivated in Australia as an ornamental plant, but has become invasive along coastal sand dunes, headlands and littoral rainforests. It may be found in home gardens as an ornamental, though is banned from sale in NSW. Glory lily is a weed of dune systems and the understorey of coastal forests. It grows in well drained soils and can quickly dominate if it is present with Bitou bush, once Bitou is removed. It is often spread by dumping of garden waste in bushland.
If left uncontrolled it:
- forms dense carpets through the understorey
- out-competes native plants
- creates a poisoning risk to humans and native fauna
- reduces land productivity and is extremely difficult to control
Due to it's high toxicity, the weed is highly dangerous to humans and cattle if ingested.
What can I do?
Dumping garden waste in bushland and allowing these garden plants to spread out of control creates a major threat of further infestations. Port Macquarie-Hastings Council is part of an exclusion zone for Glory lily, meaning that all existing plants should be eradicated. Glory lily should not be traded, carried, grown or released into the environment, and is banned from sale.
Effective management programs should aim at using alternate species and safe disposal of garden refuse.
For advice on safe and effective removal of Glory lily you are encouraged to contact Councils Biosecurity Officer via phone on (02) 6581 8111 or via email at email@example.com