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Townsville Weed Species Lists: | to brief notes on control | to occurrence and effects |

Please do not buy these plants from Nurseries  to species list | top |
by Doug Silke

Actually I think there are a lot of experienced Australian plant enthusiasts in Townsville who misunderstand the importance of stopping potential weeds before they start. But education and discussion is needed to sort this out in all people's minds.

But after that process comes the crunch... then we'll see who really fair dinkum about weeds, and who just pays lip service. Because it affects us gardeners... we have to change our ways. 75% of all environmental weeds in Victoria came from garden origins, and many of these are native plants introduced from elsewhere. Clearly the nursery industry here too is critical.

Sorry folks, no dodging the issue here, what are we going to do? It is not up to anyone else.

I think that the logic used by many is a catch 22, no win either way. A thing is not a weed until it has gotten right out of hand... so until something is absolutely proven to be a weed at my place then I can apparently plant it anywhere. But we know damn well that by the time it is recognised as a weed that "just affects our bushland"... that our council/government will only make efforts to stop it in a few priority locations. Most bush is simply abandoned to environmental weeds, except for the political rhetoric. If this catch 22 thinking is still our attitude t the end of this learning process, then don't expect the council to do anything, we haven't done our part.

The logical answer for decorative plants is so simple and very inexpensive... Firstly do not plant anything that is declared at all risky. Not even plants that are weedy at Paluma or Magnetic Island should be bought in Townsville, there are absolute mountains of alternatives at no extra cost, so why take the risk? Secondly identify and treat escaped weeds very early... this is a relatively very low cost process. Forget about dealing with intractable weeds, leave that to the experts, they will never be stopped... just deal with the recent escapees... the easiest to fix and fix good.

Tell others not to plant anything that is risky. There are relatively few plants that have weedy tendencies, but there are a huge number of alternatives freely available at no extra cost. Invariably the alternatives will not look quite the same, or fulfil the same purpose exactly. But think about it, if a particular plant species has never been planted, will anyone even notice the difference. People who knowingly grow weedy species should be prepared to pay the full cost of it's complete eradication from nearby bushland. Especially you should pay if the spread goes unnoticed, like because you died or shifted away, and the weed spread widely. Don't you think the message would soon get through (even into your dead head) that it's not worth the risk?

A few people need to do this at first, then more and more gradually, that is the political process. Otherwise massed extinctions, and much expense will be caused by us. Future generations will shake their heads at what to them will be so obvious. I don't care if a weedy species is slow to invade or not. No-one will do anything about removing it totally from our bushland. Gradually the same result will inevitably occur, it will just take a bit longer.

OK, our cultures take a while to change, if you especially value a weedy species in your garden, I'd love you to leave it there for now and simply think about it. We have to start somewhere so just don't plant another or let seedlings establish.

Fix the decorative industry first as it costs virtually nothing to do and no-one is really affected in the hip pocket. But I bet there will be many heated discussions, e.g. Cassia fistula, Golden Cassia, and Psidium guajava Guava should not be planted. Only later should we hassle about the introduced species that have the added capacity to at least give big dollar returns.

DTBG has a role to play... it is after all our bushland that is at risk. After only 200 years of the white-man 20% of all species in Victoria and NSW are exotic... Townsville Region is catching up fast. Next to clearing and grazing, weeds are our biggest threat. What's it going to be like in 1000 years.... do we care?

The following potentially weedy plants are commonly stocked by Nurseries. Some Councils ban the sale of potential environmental weeds, but we do not support this. Rather we think that (lively?) education should take place. I respect the previous tradition of growing anything that does not affect grazing land (declared weeds)... if you simply cannot agree, then it is OK to sell or grow them, but at least think about it.

Oh and another thing, Pennisetum alopecuroides, Fountain Grass, or it's look-alike is being massed in public gardens all around town. It seems that every commercial Landscape architect has been madly specifying it in just about every job for the past 12 months. According to some weed experts here, they seem to think that the weedy one is not being planted any more... but no-one I have found can tell the difference between them. The answer is so simple... do not plant either. Fountain Grass is highly likely to change the fire regime on every hill around. It has to be easy to tell the difference between weedy species and others or accountability goes up in smoke too. Whether it is Australian or not is totally irrelevant. Both are exotic to Townsville and at least one is a serious environmental weed. If it was not planted we will definitely not be any worse off, alternatives cost no more. Do we want to deliberately waste mega bucks later on constant partial cleanups of "critical conservation value" areas like Castle Hill, but always leaving the bulk of our bushland to cope as best it can. Get real and get something else.

This list is very very limited and many other species should be added, but we have to start somewhere, please let us know about weedy species, By the way, naturally local species virtually by definition cannot be environmental weeds (e.g. our Bauhinia's).

 article by Doug Silke)


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Albizia lebbek
, Indian siris (Lokkers/King 5/1999)
Anredera cordifolia, >madeira vine (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Antigonon leptopus
, coral vine(Lokkers/King 5/1999)
Araujia hortorum, >White moth plant (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Aristolocia, Dutchman’s pipe - other than native species(McKinnon 10/10/99)
Bambusa -arundiacea, chimonobambusa, quadrangularis; all >bamboo species (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Bauhinia spp
, bauhinia, Orchid Tree(Lokkers/King 5/1999)
Bryophyllum spp
, mother of millions(Lokkers/King 5/1999)
Cassia fistula
, golden cassia(Lokkers/King 5/1999)
Cardiospermum grandiflorum, >balloon vine (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Catharanthus roseus
, periwinkle(Lokkers/King 5/1999)
Celtis sinensis, >chinese celtis (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Cestrum parqui, >green cestrum (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Cinnamomum camphora, >Camphor laurel (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Cortaderia- species, >Pampas grass (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Dittrichia graveolens, >Stinkwort (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Echium plantagineum, >Patterson’s curse (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Eragrostis curvular, >African love grass ( McKinnon 10/10/99)
Eucalyptus torelliana
, cadaghi(Lokkers/King 5/1999)
Euphorbia heterophylla, >milkweed (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Froelichiafioridana, >cotton tails (McKinnon 10/10/99)
>Harungana madagascariensis, >Harungana (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Heliotropium amplexicaule, >blue heliotrope (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Hymenachne amplexicaulis, >hymenachne (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Hypericum perforatum, >St John’s wort (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Ipomoea indica, >blue morning glory (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Lantana camara, >lantana, non-sterile forms (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Lantana montevidensis, >creeping lantana (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Ligustrum species, >Privets (McKinnon 10/10/99), locally native L. australianum will OK here (Silke1999)
Leucaena leucocephala, Leucaena, (
Maciadyena unguis-cati, >cats claw vine (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Mangifera indica
, common mango form only(Lokkers/King 5/1999)
Muntingia calabura
, strawberry tree(Lokkers/King 5/1999)
Pennisetum all non Australian species, >Fountain grass(Lokkers/Silke9/99)
Pennisetum setaceum, >African fountain grass(McKinnon 10/10/99) (Lokkers/Silke9/99)
Phyllostachys heterocycla, f .pubescens, P. nigra, all >bamboo species (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Pityrogramma calomelanos (Silke/Cumming1/11/1999)
Protasparagus densiflorus, >asparagus fern (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Psidium guajava
, guava(Lokkers/King 5/1999)
Pteris vittata (Silke1999)
Rubus alceifolius, >giant bramble (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Rubus .fruticosus, >blackberry (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Salix spp. other than S. babylonica or S. chilensis, W>illow (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Samanea saman
, rain tree(Lokkers/King 5/1999)
Schinus terebinthifolia
, Brazilian pepper tree(Lokkers/King 5/1999) (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Spathodea campanulata
, African tulip tree(Lokkers/King 5/1999)
Syzygium cumini
, Javan plum(Lokkers/King 5/1999)
Tamarindus indica
, tamarind(Lokkers/King 5/1999)
Tecoma stans
, yellow bignonia(Lokkers/King 5/1999) (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Thevetia peruviana
, yellow oleander(Lokkers/King 5/1999) (McKinnon 10/10/99)
Thunbergia spp
, thunbergia(Lokkers/King 5/1999)
Wedelia trilobata
, Singapore daisy(Lokkers/King 5/1999) (McKinnon 10/10/99)


Peter Buosi, 1999, Email
Lokkers/King 5/1999: Listed species supplied by either Con Lokkers or Alan King or both)
Lokkers/Silke9/99; discussion about various Pennisetum species, Fountain Grasses
>McKinnon 10/10/99: Plants soon to be banned from sale in Qld; Ross McKinnon, curator of Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mt Coot-tha, >published 10/10/99 Sunday Mail.
Silke/Cumming1/11/1999, Pityrogramma calomelanos, Silver Fern, is spreading rapidly well up some creeks in the Pinnacles. Quote from Jones, 1987, Encyclopaedia of ferns: "Although highly ornamental, it exhibits tremendous ability to …become weedy. It has done this in many tropical countries, it commonly colonises harsh sites such as scree slopes… but is also found in more favourable situations"
Silke1999, warning, not known in the wild yet, Pteris vittata (Milanda origin) has far far more capacity to spread than does silver fern in a nursery situation. Regrows after long very dry periods (A. King)