What is African boxthorn?
- African boxthorn is a significant pasture weed.
- African boxthorn is a
declared weed under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of African boxthorn are prohibited in Tasmania.
How to identify African boxthorn
- African boxthorn is a woody shrub reaching up to 4 metres in height, with glossy leaves and an extensive root system incorporating a long branched taproot. The trunk and branches are light brown and smooth when young, turning darker brown or grey with age. The twigs end in a hard, sharp spike or thorn.
- The white flowers are usually produced in summer, although flowering can occur through most of the year. The fruit is an oblong berry approximately 10 mm long, going from a smooth green appearance to bright orange-red when ripe. Fruits contain numerous small, oval, flattened seeds. Seeds germinate at any time of the year and generally take two years to reach flowering stage.
- African boxthorn can be confused with the native tree violet (Hymenanthera dentate). Tree violet has yellow flowers and purple or white fruits, and the leaves tend to be narrower than the leaves of African boxthorn, and sometimes have toothed margins.
- For further help in identifying African boxthorn, search the
Dennis Morris Weeds and Endemic Flora database for African boxthorn illustrations. If you are still in doubt about the weed you are dealing with, contact Biosecurity Tasmania on 03 6165 3777 for help.
Image top: African boxthorn fruiting branch showing ripening fruit.
Image above left & right: African boxthorn bush &
close up of branches and thorns.
African boxthorn in Tasmania
- African boxthorn is found throughout most agricultural areas of Tasmania, including King Island and Cape Barren Island. It is commonly found along fence-lines and beneath overhead wires, as well as along roadsides, railways and waterways.
- African boxthorn invades pastures and waste areas, reducing access and causing difficulty in stock movement. The spines can injure people, animals and vehicle tyres.
What is the legal status of African boxthorn in your area?
- The legal responsibilities of landholders and other stakeholders in dealing with African boxthorn are laid out in the African boxthorn
Statutory Weed Management Plan.
- Use Table 1 (Zone A municipalities) and Table 2 (Zone B municipalities) in the Statutory Weed Management Plan to find out whether your area falls in an eradication or containment zone.