Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Feral Plants

I was saddened to see a host of feral plants during my visit to the Sunshine Coast. Almost everywhere we went I spotted something that was out of place. Many have appeared in the bush because the wind or birds have transferred the seeds from nearby gardens. But many infestations are a direct result of ignorant gardeners dumping their garden refuse on the side of the road. Wherever you are in the world, never ever dump your garden refuse anywhere except at a designated tip or waste disposal centre. Feral plants (they've jumped the garden fence and gone wild) are costing our economy (and probably your economy too!) millions of dollars to eradicate every year.
These photos were all taken within 50m of the beach - on top of the foredune.
The top left photo shows an umbrella tree Schefflera sp next to the indigenous allocasuarina in a sea of lantana. I'm not sure if the schefflera is the native species or an introduced one but I'm pretty sure it should be growing in the rainforest pockets further inland - birds eat the seeds and I saw it growing in the most unlikely places. Lantana (which comes from the West Indies) is a widespread problem throughout Queensland and it forms dense prickly impenetrable thickets shading anything growing beneath it. Again its fleshy black seeds are eaten by the birds.
The second photo shows a stand of mother-in-law's tounge (from Africa) Sansevieria sp almost being swamped by the lantana. It has definitely arrived at this location through unwanted plants being dumped. The third photo is I think some sort of kalanchoe with balloon shaped seeds - you can see the dead strappy leaves of the local dianella that gave up the fight amidst some asparagus fern that was carpeting the ground. The fourth photo is a species of euphorbia and the fifth photo is a crassula commonly called mother-of-millions - at the end of every leaf a baby plant forms and drops off and huge clumps are the result.
So please remember all you gardeners out there, dumping your rubbish is a no-no! It causes one giant headache for someone else to clean up, stuffs up the environment and looks unsightly. I would much rather have seen the local plants at this location - but I couldn't because they had been killed off by feral plants.

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