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Tuesday, October 24, 2017, 1:24 PM

South African weed invades Shire


A new weed is invading Murrindindi Shire Council with council encouraging residents to remove it.

Councillor for Natural Environment and Climate Change, Rebecca Bowles, said the South African weed orchid (Disa Bracteata) was first spotted in Kinglake after the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

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African weed orchid (Disa Bracteata)

“At that time, Parks Victoria issued a weed alert. This plant is a prolific seeder and there was concern it would quickly take hold in the Kinglake National Park.

“Unfortunately, over the last couple of years, the weed orchid has been found on our road reserves in both Flowerdale and Strath Creek, quite some distance from Kinglake,” she said.

The South African weed orchid is a deciduous perennial orchid with underground tubers. The weed is self-pollinating.

“Each plant is incredibly prolific, producing tens of thousands of airborne seeds,” Cr Bowles said.  “These seeds are minute and dust-like and can spread over many kilometres and they may remain viable for seven years.

“The orchids sprout in early spring and can establish themselves in both shaded and open conditions.

“Unlike the orchids we know and love, these plants are particularly hardy and are fire, frost and drought-tolerant.

“We don’t want them in our environment as they compete with and exclude smaller indigenous flora, including orchids, lilies and grasses.

“The best way to get rid of these nasty invaders is to hit them as soon as you see them by pulling them out.  But make sure you also get those annoying little tubers attached to the roots and bag them up,” added Cr Bowles.

“If you find the weed orchids on the roadsides, please report their location to Council’s Environmental Programs Unit on 5772 0333.”

Text & Images ©COPYRIGHT 2017 Kinglake Ranges News.
With Murrindindi Shire Council.

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