This pretty flower is a weed and one that we don’t want spreading. It is Epilobium hirsutum, Giant Willow-herb, and native to the Northern Hemisphere and grows to about 2m. There are native plants in this genus but they have much smaller flowers. It was noticed on a creekline in Buninyong. Looks like Ballarat Council needs to come out and get rid of it. They have been trying to control it for a few years but as you will see from the photos it produces a lot of small seeds.
African weed-orchid is a spreading into many reserves. The leaves are starting to emerge again for this season and are noticeable as the dead seed head is usually still present. The leaves have a purplish tinge underneath. The seeds are fine like dust and each plant produces millions. It is a weed of disturbed sites but now seen in more often in undisturbed grasslands.
Bridal Creeper is a highly competitive climbing weed in bushland and it is actively growing now. Spotted some at Linton on Sunday. It is on the list of weeds of National Significance which is an indicator of how invasive the authorities think it is.
The multiple stems are wiry and hard to break and can form dense curtains. The flowers are small and greenish-white and are followed by a green berry which ripens to red and are spread by birds. The leaves (cladodes) are oval, light green and glossy with pointed tips.
Another feature is the tuberous root system which allows the plant to survive hot, dry conditions. The entire root system needs to be dug out if you are trying to eradicate the plant. Make sure you dispose of the plant so that it does not re-invade the bush.
These days is you have an smart phone it is possible to take a photo of a weed that includes the location and date to make it easier to go back to the same place next year for follow up work.
Most of us know that Agapanthus are hardy plants that flower for a long time. This is probably why they are planted so often on bush properties, especially along driveways. The blue or white flowers are attractive but they do set a lot of seed.
The plants are reasonably hard to get rid of and out compete native plants in bush settings. They also seem to attract a lot of snails and slugs. Some references on the internet mention that parts of the plants are toxic.
For those who persist in keeping or planting these environmental weeds, please cut off the seed heads before they develop and spread into the surround bushland. Sterile plants are available.
At the Melbourne Flower Show recently I found the answer for those of you who are too lazy to cut off the heads. Buy or make some nice metal flowers. They are expensive but so is the cost of removing them from bushland.
Billardiera fusiformis, Bluebell Creeper, is a vigorous twining shrub grows naturally in WA, but in Victoria is an environmental weed in bushland. The flowers are blue followed by purplish/green cylindrical berries.
The shrubs are flowering now, so are easy to spot to remove. Birds eat the berries and spread the plants. The plant then smothers other plants. They are easy to pull out when small. Recently I have seen it flowering on roadsides in Gordon, Mt Doran, Mt Egerton and Scarsdale. It used to be called Sollya heterophylla.
Getting rid of rabbits takes some effort. There are any number of guides on how to tackle the issue, including this one from the Moorabool Landcare Network.
Connecting Country have recently made a video on how to build a bait station, if you decide to use pindone bait – link.
Many people are concerned that other animals such as wallabies may be attracted to the baited grain, so this bait station looks like a practical way to put the bait out and protect other animals.
It is a good idea if you are planning to do this to collect any dead rabbits and bury them so they don’t become food for scavengers and birds of prey. Getting rid of the rabbit harbour and the warren system is also a must do. Be aware that if you use machinery to rip warrens that you may damage cultural heritage sites. Consult your local landcare facilitator to seek the latest advice on how to deal with rabbit warrens.