Know your alien invasive plant: Weeping bottlebrush

A Weeping bottlebrush or Callistemon viminalis tree. PHOTO: Pinterest.

THIS week, Hillcrest Conservancy, takes a look at the Weeping bottlebrush, as part of its series of articles on alien invasive plants to help the community to identify and eradicate them from their gardens. The Weeping bottlebrush’s scientific name is Callistemon viminalis.

 

Description: This alien invader may come as a surprise to many people as it is commonly found in many gardens throughout South Africa. It grows up to 8 metres in height and has pendent branches with leaves which are 3 to 7 cm long and 3 to 7 mm in width. The bright red flower spikes, which are 4 to 10 cm in length and about 3 to 6 cm in diameter, occur between spring and summer.

Where does the species come from? It is native to the states of New South Wales and Queensland in Australia where it often occurs along watercourses.

What is its invasive status in South Africa? This is a Category 1b plant in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga which means it must be removed from your garden to avoid prosecution. It falls into Category 3 in Free State, Gauteng, North West, Northern Cape and Western Cape.

How does it spread? The prolific seeds are spread by birds, wind, human activity and animals.

Why is it a problem? It out-competes indigenous plant species.

alien invasive plantsThis plant can be replaced with the even more attractive Natal Bottle brush or Greyia sutherlandii. It has beautiful flowers and leaves which are just as attractive when they turn bright red in Autumn.

Contact Ian Pattrick on 079 909 5458 or Hillcrest Conservancy chairman, George Victor, on 073 901 3902 or e-mail georgevic@telkomsa.net.

 

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