‘Biodiversity’ – it’s the variety of life – all life, including plants, animals, microorganisms and the ecosystems which they are a part of. A landscape which has good biodiversity is a healthy one as it is better able to bounce back after disturbance, change or natural disaster.
Unfortunately, over the last 200 years Australia has suffered ‘the largest documented decline in biodiversity of any continent, and it is still in decline.’1 Habitat loss is the number one contributor to this decline and invasive species (weeds and feral animals) are the number two.
This month we’d like to talk about weeds. Yes, they are just plants but weeds have enormous impacts on biodiversity – some more so than others. The worst of the weeds are capable of smothering everything in their path. In their homelands, these plants have natural predators to help keep them in check but here they become rampant, displacing our native flora and their dependant fauna. Sadly around two thirds of Australia’s weeds were originally introduced as garden plants.
There are things we can do to help turn things around and literally we can start by cleaning up our own backyards. Here are three common local weeds, all garden plants that have gone wild in Lennox. If you can sort these out for us, you’ll be doing your bit to conserve local biodiversity.
– Native to tropical America
– Vigorous ground cover that smothers native ground species
– Yellow daisy flowers in spring to autumn
– Glossy green leaves with paler undersides
– Roots at nodes and regrows from tiny stem fragments
– Mainly spread via cuttings eg slashing and pruning
– Removal: persistent hand removal making sure to dig up runners
– Local native alternative: Flax lily (Dianella sp)
– Native to South Africa
– Weed of national significance
– Popular garden plant of the 80s, grows in dense blankets, entirely smothers ground layer
– Seeds spread by birds, also re-grows vegetatively from dumped garden waste
– Removal: Needs to be dug out, making sure the nutty base is removed
– Local native alternative: Midgen Berry
– Native to South America
– Widespread environmental weed
– Straggly, multi-stemmed shrub to 5m high
– Produces profuse yellow flowers between March and May
– Bean-like seeds spread by water, ants, birds and rodents.
– Removal: smaller shrubs can be hand-pulled, larger shrubs need to be sawn at the base and herbicide applied to cut stem
– Local native alternative: Beach Birds Eye
Landcare dates for May
(Times are from 8.30 to 10.30am)
Wed 3rd Seven Mile Dunes – north of surf club
Wed 10th Boulder Beach – Coast Rd car park
Wed 17th Seven Mile Dunes – opposite Williamsburg
Wed 24th Boulder Beach – Coast Rd car park
Wed 31st Lennox Head Aboriginal Area (Bora Ring) – enter via Gibbon St
www.lennoxheadlandcare.org; email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Shaun on 0448 221 210.