No more moth plants

moth_plant_smallSo far we’ve done well at keeping pest animals out of the sanctuary, but unfortunately the pest weeds are not so easily deterred. So this year we’re asking you to help manage the most invasive weeds along the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. With the assistance of Hibiscus Matters and Auckland Council Biosecurity we’ll be highlighting a different pest plant each month in the Hibiscus Matters newspaper.

This month its the moth plant, which is flowering now. Please note that Auckland Council has specified it as a ‘Containment Pest Plant’ on Whangaparaoa Peninsula, which means that land-owners are required to remove it.  The Council has provided information as follows:

Moth plant, also known as cruel plant and kapok vine, is an invasive vine which smothers and replaces existing vegetation and can form huge patches and colonies. The seed pods resemble those of the choko plant but they have a harmful affect on humans and animals if eaten. Pods contain hundreds of seeds and when ripe they split releasing these wind borne seeds and spread great distances with ease. The plant is also poisonous, with the white milky sap having an irritating affect on those who come into contact with it. The sap will stain clothing, so it is important to be careful when handling the plant.

If you see it please help to stop it spreading. Small plants can be pulled out by hand, but bigger ones need to be dug our or cut back and poisoned. It is important to check for seedlings, which can be pulled out easily. Seeds can germinate freely at least five years from the time of being shed. Places to check for moth plant include hedges, trees, stony banks, cliffs and waste places.

If you see it growing but not on your property, please lodge a biosecurity report with the Council on 09 3010101. You’ll need to state the the location accurately so they can find it.

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