War declared on invasive pest

Last updated 08:07 31/10/2012

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The call is out to residents to report sightings of a rare and potentially invasive pest plant.

Biosecurity officer Deryn Dromgoole says Auckland Council's biosecurity team is treating the control of scrambling lily as a high priority and is calling on the public to help.

Seedling and adult scrambling lily plants, known as Geitonomplesium cymosum, were found in Rocky Bay in August.

The plant is a vigorous climber that forms dense infestations, smothering host plants with wiry green stems up to 12 metres long. The flowers, visible in spring and summer, are white to purplish-green with bright yellow anthers, appearing in small clusters. They later form green pea-like fruit that turns black.

"We need to ensure that we eradicate this pest plant and we are asking people, especially in the Omiha/Rocky Bay area to help. Please check your properties thoroughly and contact us if you suspect scrambling lily is present," Ms Dromgoole says.

Displays of this and other pest plants are being held to show islanders what to look out for. Check out the display at Auckland Council Service Centre, from November 5 to 9, the Weedbusters' stand at Rangihoua during the SeaLink Jassy Dean Trust Garden Safari on November 10 and 11 and at key events during the Waiheke Walking Festival which ends this Sunday.

Scrambling lily was first found in New Zealand in 2000 on the North Shore, then again in 2001 at Rocky Bay. The recent discovery indicates there may be further undiscovered mature plants elsewhere in or near Rocky Bay.

Contact Ms Dromgoole on 366 2000 x 8873, or 021 948 756 or email her at deryn.dromgoole@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.

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