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Published: 2010-06-25 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is urging the Raglan community to get on top of wild ginger and woolly nightshade.

Under EW’s Regional Pest Management Strategy, wild ginger and woolly nightshade are designated as "total control containment pest plants", which means landowners and occupiers are required to control them on their property.

"Many Raglan people are being proactive in the control of these weeds already. Now we need other members of the community to step up to the mark and control the woolly nightshade and wild ginger growing on their properties," said biosecurity contractor Philip Mabin.

EW is happy to provide landowners with factsheets that give information on the best techniques for eradicating these plants.

Pest plant biosecurity contractors may be contacted on 0800 BIOSEC (246732).

Wild ginger

Wild ginger was introduced from India to New Zealand as a garden plant. It has striking yellow flowers with an attractive scent and shiny red seed capsules. Its massive rhizomes (root system) form dense layers.

The plant is common in warmer parts of the Waikato region where it will grow in native forest and along streams. Where it spreads, nothing else can grow up through the mats of tubers, and the dense leaves block light and smother natives. Birds disperse seeds and it can grow from rhizome fragments.

Wild ginger can be dug out, but all the roots and tubers have to be carefully removed. A herbicide may also be used to control wild ginger. Dispose of the rhizomes where they cannot re-grow. Do not dump them. Place them in household waste collection.

 Woolly nightshade

Woolly nightshade is a shrub or small tree that grows very rapidly.

The berries, which are poisonous to people, are eaten by birds which then disperse the seeds.

Woolly nightshade has clusters of small mauve flowers and velvety grey-green leaves which give off an unpleasant smell when crushed.

To get rid of this plant, cut it off at the stump and immediately paint the whole stump with herbicide. Pull out small plants less than 60 centimetres tall, shake all the dirt from the roots and leave the plant to wither and dry out. Larger trees can be drilled or slashed and poisoned.