Restore Hibiscus & Bays will have a major focus on moth plant this summer, in collaboration with other environmental groups in the region.
Generally the focus in the past has been on removing and destroying the plant’s seedpods, but this time the plan is to tackle it even earlier – while it is flowering in summer.
This makes it easy to recognise (as opposed to when there are no flowers), and also means that it can be controlled before the pods form.
Dealing with pods is a much bigger job, creates more waste that goes to landfill, and of course is a race against time before the pods burst and spread their seeds widely.
Moth plant spreads quickly and can smother native bush. It is poisonous to people (and Monarch butterflies) and its sap can irritate the skin.
From January, the vines form bell-shaped creamy coloured flowers, occasionally with pink streaks. Over the following months, those flowers turn into large, green, pear-shaped pods, which each release thousands of fluffy parachute seeds into the air infesting the Coast’s gardens, parks and bush.
Guidelines for tackling moth plant
• Report the weed using the EcoTrack.nz app • Dig out any small seedlings. • For larger vines, find the stem where it goes into the ground, cut it near the base and immediately paste a thin smear of MetGel onto the cut stem (this can be bought at any hardware store or garden centre, or borrowed from the Tool Library in Whangaparāoa). The tool library is open by appointment. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time. • Dispose of the flowers, roots and any pods in your rubbish bin to go to landfill. Unfortunately, they can’t be composted. Leave the vine hanging in the tree to die.Info: email Restore Hibiscus & Bays, email@example.com