Pretty But Noxious

When cyclists from the Great Victorian Bike Ride “ascend” on Tarra Bulga next week they will notice along with the many native plants in flower some attractive looking flowering plants that are in fact not so desirable. One of the most obvious they will see is Creeping Buttercup – (Ranunculus repens). Although there are native Buttercup species this one comes from the Northern hemisphere. As can be seen by the sea of yellow along the roadsides at this time of the year, it has been well established for a long time and has also penetrate to some moist areas deeper in the park resulting in the displacement of native species.

Ranunculus repens - Creeping Buttercup

Ranunculus repens – Creeping Buttercup – In flower now common along the edge of roadsides.

Ranunculus repens - Creeping Buttercup

Ranunculus repens – Creeping Buttercup – close up of its leaves

Another weed that is threatening to take over and become more of a pest is Myosotis sylvatica or  Wood forget-me-not. There are also native relatives of this plant in existence, but this species is native to Europe and has been introduced to Tarra Bulga from garden escapes. It is popping up all over the roadsides and is threatening to penetrate deeper into the park. Park staff and volunteers are vigilant in trying to remove seedlings whenever they are encountered but the task seems to be getting more difficult.

Myosotis sylvatica - Wood-forget-me-not

Myosotis sylvatica – Wood-forget-me-not – pretty flowers but a threat to the park.

Myosotis sylvatica - Wood-forget-me-not

Myosotis sylvatica – Wood-forget-me-not – Leaves and stem

A weed that is very established in some sections of the park is Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum) and it is proving very difficult to control. It is a shrub that in some areas has formed dense thickets, dominating the understorey, it originates from Eurasia. A couple  of years ago a trial site at Tarra Bulga was established and a rust that attacks the leaves of Tutsan was introduced. Unfortunately the rust has not successfully established at the site and so we are still looking for solutions to get this beast under control.

Hypercium androsaemum - Tutsan

Hypercium androsaemum – Tutsan – very attractive flower for this thug of a plant.

Hypercium androsaemum - Tutsan

Hypercium androsaemum – Tutsan – Look closely and you can see some of the introduced rust on this plant, sadly the rust has not seemed to take.

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