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Part 2 - Pest management programmes

5 Pest plants

5.4 Potential pest plants

5.4.15 Monkey apple tree (Acmena smithii)

Image of Monkey apple tree.


Monkey apple is a long-lived, evergreen tree up to 20 m tall with a dense bushy crown. Leaves, dotted with glands underneath, release aromatic fragrance when crushed. Fragrant, white flowers occur in bunches from October to January. Heavy crops of white to pink-mauve, edible, berry-like fruit are produced in autumn. It is mainly dispersed by birds eating the fruit.

Reasons for strategy

Potential environmental threat

Monkey apple seedlings are shade tolerant and form dense masses under the forest canopy, then grow into stands of large trees forming a permanent canopy. The fleshy 1-3 cm diameter fruits are highly palatable to kereru, which then transport the seeds to resting spots within native forest. The juvenile trees quickly outstrip puriri, taraire and other native seedlings, suppressing and displacing native trees. Because monkey apple can germinate and grow in full sunlight or in shade it has the potential to eventually completely replace native forest. Currently, this invasiveness is evidenced primarily in warmer conditions north of Auckland, but council considers it to be prudent to include the species as a potential pest in this region.

Long-term objective

Prevent the establishment of wild monkey apple tree in the Waikato region.

Strategic objective

Reduce to zero density by 2013 all known (as at 1 July 2007), self-propagated populations of monkey apple tree in the region and, as practicable, reduce towards zero density any additional such infestations that are identified over the duration of the strategy.

Means of achievement
Statutory obligation No person shall knowingly communicate, release, sell, offer to sell, display in a place where plants are offered for sale or exhibition, propagate or breed monkey apple tree.
A breach of this obligation will create an offence under section 154(m) of the Act.
Monitoring Waikato Regional Council will survey monkey apple tree infestations wherever they occur in the region to gather information on their effects and distribution, in accordance with section 11.2.1 of the strategy.
Information and advice Waikato Regional Council will provide advice and information on the threats of monkey apple tree to affected land occupiers and other interested parties, in accordance with section 11.1 of the strategy.
Direct control Waikato Regional Council may undertake direct control of self-propagated monkey apple tree in accordance with section 11.4 of the strategy in order to remove the risks of widespread establishment at an early stage.

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