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February 2014


This month, we revert to our series on Alien Invader Plants (AIP’s) and how to identify and eradicate them. Each of us can contribute to the welfare of our environment by limiting the spread of weeds that threaten our precious water resources, indigenous vegetation and fauna and which also promotes catastrophic fires, floods and soil erosion.

Currently flowering and easily noticed, are the following serious AIP’s:

  • Pompom Weed Campuloclinium macrocephalum
  • Lantana Lantana camara

Pompom Weed is a declared Category 1 plant and landowners are therefore compelled to control it. Originating from Brazil and Argentina, it was introduced as an attractive ornamental flower and then escaped into the wild where it has invaded grassland and roadsides. It has since spread widely, particularly in the northern and eastern provinces of S.A. It spreads easily by seed and can also regenerate from underground rhizomes.

Identification: It is an erect perennial herb, up to 1.5m high, dying back annually to a root crown. The stem and leaves are covered with rough, bristly hairs. Flowers: Bright pink, fluffy flower-heads - flowering December to March. Leaves: Light green, broadly lance-shaped with serrated margins, up to 80 mm long and 20 mm wide - becoming smaller towards the top of the plant.

Control: Plants are difficult to control but can be removed mechanically providing that the entireplant, including the rootstock is dug out. As a further precaution (if there are only a few plants), flowers and seed heads can be cut off and placed in a plastic bag for burning. It is important to ensure that you don’t “lose” the plants in tall grassland if this is done prior to other treatment!
Herbicides registered for control are metasulfonyl urea products such as Brush Off and Nicanor (mixed 5-6 gm. in a 16 litre knapsack sprayer). If the plants are not growing near a water source, Plenum (0.5% solution in water) is also an effective herbicide for control of Pompom. In all cases, the entire plant should be sprayed and a “wetter” used to ensure that the herbicide clings to the plant.
Lantana, considered one of the world’s 10 worst weeds, will be discussed in a subsequent article.

  • Sapia News
  • Alien Weeds & Invasive Plants (L. Henderson)
  • Problem Plants of S.A. (C. Bromilow)

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January 2014

After Indonesia and Brazil, South Africa is the third-most biologically diverse country in the world. Occupying only 1% of the world’s terrestrial land area it is home to...

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December 2013

Since 2013 marks the 100th anniversary of Biological Control of IAP’s in South Africa, it is appropriate that we take a closer look at this programme in this, the last issue of 2013.



November 2013

This month, we describe the first two alien invaders that are currently quite evident in our area as they are early spring bloomers

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October 2013

One of the prime causes of habitat degradation - namely the introduction of alien plant species.

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September 2013

Biodiversity is the all-encompassing term to describe the variety of all life on Earth.

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February 2014

This month, we revert to our series on Alien Invader Plants (AIP’s) and how to identify and eradicate them.

Read more


March 2014

As promised last month, our next “candidate” is the notorious weed Lantana camara.

Read more