Common Environmental Weeds

Banana Passionfruit

(Passiflora cinnabarina and Passiflora tarminiana)
Banana passionfruit, Passiflora cinnabarina & P. tarminiana  
Description: A large, twining climber to 20m. Large leaves have three lobes and toothed edges. Flowers are large, pink with long, fleshy stalks. Fleshy, oblong fruits ripen to yellow.

Dispersal: Seed spread by birds and animals.

Impact: Smothers or collapses other vegetation, as well as damaging fences and other infrastructure.

Control: Remove all fruit, and either dig out or cut and paint stems, ensuring all stems are treated.

Safe Alternative: True passionfruit (Passiflora edulis). Although not native, the true passionfruit isn't a weed.

Bluebell Creeper

(Billardiera heterophylla)
bluebell creeper, Billardiera heterophylla
Description: A Western Australian native climber, with twisting branches and narrow, shiny green leaves. Small clusters of blue or white bell-like flowers.

Dispersal: Birds, stem and root fragments.

Impact: Vigorously smothers other vegetation; toxic.

Control: Hand pull seedlings, taking care to remove as much of the root system as possible; cut and paint larger plants, disposing of material to ensure seeds and plant parts aren't dispersed.

Safe Alternative: Native blueberry (Billardiera longiflora) has spectacular purple fruits, but are not as large or self-supporting. A hardy plant that tolerates a variety of conditions.

Blue Butterfly Bush

(Psoralea pinnata)
weed - blue butterfly, Psoralea pinnata  
Description: Erect shrub or small tree with fine, needle-like leaflets in groups of three. Flowers lilac/blue pea flowers, followed by small, elliptical pods each containing one dark brown seed.

Dispersal: Seed, by birds, ants, water and in soil and dumped garden waste.

Impact: Seeds prolifically and rapidly replaces native trees and shrubs, especially following fire.

Control: Hand pull seedlings; cut and paint larger plants.

Blue Periwinkle

(Vinca major)
Periwinkle, Blue Periwinkle, Vinca major
Description: Ground cover with dark green or variegated shiny oval leaves.
Large (6cm across) mauve flowers with five petals.

Dispersal: Stem and root fragments, in water, soil and on machinery.

Impact: Vigorously smothers other vegetation; toxic to livestock.

Control: Heavy mulching may suppress some growth and weaken plants to allow digging out. ALL plant fragments must be removed. Repeated spraying with herbicide after slashing back can be effective.

Safe Alternative: Native clematis (Clematis arista).

Cape Ivy

(Delairea odorata)
Cape ivy, Delairea odorata
Description: A dense ground cover and climber to 10m. Bright green leaves shiny and ivy-shaped; fragrant yellow daisy flowers in prolific clusters.

Dispersal: Wind-dispersal of seeds; layering of stems.

Impact: Vigorously smothers other vegetation; collapses desirable shrubs and fences; toxic.

Control: Cut climbing stems and leave aerial plant parts to dry out; dig out all roots and layered stems. Regrowth may be sprayed.

Safe Alternative: Native clematis (Clematis arista).

Cape Leeuwin Wattle

(Paraserianthes lophantha)
Cape Leeuwin wattle, Paraserianthes lophantha
Description: Spreading tall shrub or small tree with dark green, feathery leaves, and greenish-yellow bottlebrush-shaped flowers. Long, flat green seedpods turn dark brown in summer. Seeds round, black, hard.

Dispersal: Long lived seeds by water, ants, soil and dumped garden waste.

Impact: Replaces native vegetation, especially on lighter soils.

Control: Hand pull (quite large plants can have shallow root systems); cut and

Safe Alternative: There are a number of Tasmanian native Acacia species with similar characteristics. Choose one local to your area.


(Cotoneaster species)
Description: Large shrub to 5m with oval leaves, lighter underneath. Large clusters of strongly scented small white/cream flowers produce clusters of bright red fruits.

Dispersal: Seeds, by birds and animals.

Impact: Competes with native species in a variety of native bush communities; fruit are poisonous in large amounts.

Control: Hand pull small seedlings; cut and paint larger shrubs.

Safe Alternative: Native currant (Coprosma quadrifida)


(Digitalis purpurea)
Foxglove, Digitalis purpurea 
Description: A biennial herb with a rosette of soft, blue-grey hairy leaves that produces a tall flower spike of white, pink or purple tubular flowers with dark mottling.

Dispersal: Tiny seeds in wind, water, and soil.

Impact: Invades wet forests, riparian and alpine areas, where it replaces native herbs. Extremely toxic to livestock and humans.

Control: Dig out or hand pull flowering plants, ensuring there is no contact with sap. Rosettes can be spot-sprayed or wiped with herbicide.


(Fuchsia magellanica)
Fuchsia, Fuchsia magellanica
Description: Dense, sprawling multi-stemmed shrub with pinkish stems and narrow, slightly toothed leaves. Flowers are deep red or pink, drooping and lantern-shaped, producing a pale or translucent drupe (fruit) in summer/autumn.

Dispersal: Seeds from birds and in water; broken stems.

Impact: Of the many hundreds of fuchsia hybrids and cultivars, only this species has become weedy. It can completely dominate riverbanks, excluding all other plants and promoting erosion.

Control: Small plants can be dug out; larger plants require cut and paint.

Safe Alternative: All other species of fuchsia are safe to plant.


(Gazania linearis)
Gazania, Gazania linearis  
Description: Low growing herb with long, narrow leaves that are dark green above and whitish below. The large, bright daisy flower (yellow, orange, red) has black near the centre.

Dispersal: Seed by wind, water or soil movement.

Impact: Can dominate light, sandy soils, including beach sands, where it replaces native plants and alters dune formation.

Control: Hand pull individual plants.


(Hedera helix)
Ivy, English Ivy, Hedera helix  
Description: Dense woody climber with glossy dark green leaves (occasionally variegated) that vary in shape from typical lobed ivy-shape to egg-shape. Small flowers produce dark berries in clusters.

Dispersal: Seeds spread by birds; root fragments, typically in garden waste.

Impact: Vigorously smothers other vegetation; collapses desirable shrubs and fences; all plant parts are poisonous and sap can cause skin irritation.

Control: Hand pull or dig out small plants, removing all roots and layering stems; cut and paint larger plants, treating all rooting stems.

Safe Alternative: Native clematis (Clematis arista)

Mirror Bush

(Coprosma repens)
Mirror bush, Coprosma repens
Description: Shrub to 8m with roundish, very glossy green leaves. Flowers are inconspicuous: female white, tubular in groups of three; male in greenish clusters. Fleshy orange-red berries ripen in summer.

Dispersal: Seeds, by birds and animals.

Impact: Replaces native vegetation, especially in coastal areas.

Control: Hand pull small plants; cut and paint larger ones.

Safe Alternative: Native currant (Coprosma quadfrifida). In exposed situations, boobyalla (Acacia sophorae) is a tough, attractive alternative.

Sea Spurge

(Euphorbia paralias)


Description: Perennial coastal herb growing up to one metre tall. The woody root crown produces 1-10 stems, each producing 3-5 terminal, fertile branches. Fleshy, bluish-green leaves 5-30 mm long overlap along the length of the stems. Small, inconspicuous green flowers produced in the terminal inflorescences from September to May.

Dispersal: Buoyant, seawater-resistant seeds are produced in a capsule and released explosively upon maturity. They can be spread over long distances by ocean currents. Sea spurge can be found around much of the Tasmanian coast.

Impact: Sea spurge invades upper beach and dune habitats, resulting in alterations to beach and dune formation, and displacement of native flora and of nesting habitats.

Control: Hand pull, heat treatment, and herbicide. Permanent eradication is extremely difficult.

Further information:
Tasmanian Beach Weed Strategy (includes: formarram grass, sea wheatgrass, pyp grass, beach daisy and sea spurge)

Sweet Pittosporum

(Pittosporum undulatum)
Pittosporum, Sweet pittosporum, (Pittosporum undulatum)  
Description: A shrub or small tree with shiny, oval leaves with wavy edges, lighter underneath. Flowers creamy-white and sweetly scented, followed by clusters of orange fleshy fruit.

Dispersal: Seed by birds, animals, water; root-fragments in water, soil and dumped garden waste.

Impact: Replaces native vegetation in a wide range of bush types, including wet forest and coastal areas.

Control: Hand pull small plants, ensuring all roots are removed; cut and paint.

Safe Alternative: Cheesewood (Pittosporum bicolor) a Tasmanian native pittosporum; native laurel (Anopterus glandulosus) has similar foliage; Christmas bush (Prostanthera lasianthos) has a similar shape and masses of flowers in early summer.


(Acer pseudoplatanus)
Sycamore, maple, (Acer pseudoplantanus)  
Description: A deciduous tree with smooth, grey bark turning reddish, and maple leaves. Flowers small and greenish, followed by wing shaped seeds.

Dispersal: Seeds dispersed by wind with a distinctive propeller motion; also in water, soil. Sprouts from dumped prunings.

Impact: Invades wet and damp forests and riverbanks, where it replaces native trees and shrubs, destroying food and habitat sources for native birds and animals.

Control: Hand pull small seedlings; cut and paint or drill and fill larger plants.

Tree Lucerne

(Chamaecytisus palmensis)

Tree lucerne, Chamaecytisus palmensis  
Description: Dense, weeping shrub to 6m; leaflets hairy, and in threes; masses of fragrant, creamy-white pea-shaped flowers, followed by downy green seedpods that turn brown.

Dispersal: Pods eject seeds; seed also transported by animals, ants and soil movement.

Impact: Replaces native vegetation; long-lived seeds.

Control: Hand pull seedlings, cut-and paint larger plants.

Safe Alternative: Prickly box (Bursaria spinosa) and hop bush (Dodonaea viscosa) in dry areas; local Tasmanian native acacias for high rainfall areas.

Wandering Creeper

(Tradescantia fluminensis)
Wandering creeper, Tradescantia fluminensis  
Description: Creeper with trailing, brittle and slightly succulent stems to 4m; clusters of small white flowers, each with three petals, at the end of stems.

Dispersal: Roots from the nodes; grows from stem pieces.

Impact: Completely smothers ground layer, replacing other plants.

Control: Carefully dig out whole plant ensuring all of the plant is removed and disposed of.

Important Disclaimer
To the extent permitted by law, the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (including its employees and consultants) excludes all liability to any person for any consequences, including but not limited to all losses, damages, costs, expenses and any other compensation, arising directly or indirectly from using information or material (in part or in whole) contained on this website.


Invasive Species Branch