The Hermanus Botanical Society (HBS) has again highlighted an invasive species in our area.

Senecio pterophorus PHOTO: spapps.environment.sa.gov.au

This is Senecio pterophorus season. It is a highly invasive weed from the Eastern Cape and KZN which has become a world-wide pest. It has spread alarmingly in the Overberg in the past 10 years. Worryingly, it is known to hybridise with indigenous species such as S. burchellii.

HBS appeals to anyone who sees a manageable outbreak of this pest anywhere close to Fernkloof, or other sensitive natural areas, to take immediate steps to deal with it. It is easily identifiable by the narrow, coarsely serrated leaves, dark green above and silvery-grey below. It has dense, rather pretty, heads of small yellow daisies and can grow to about 2 m tall. It is in full flower right now (late November) but will start to seed very quickly.

The first step is to deflower the plant by chopping off the head – both flowers and seeds. Put these in a plastic bag and dispose of it in the rubbish bin. Don’t put it in the compost! The rest of the plant can be pulled up and left to decompose.

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