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Evergreen buckthorn is a shrub or small tree which grows 5-10 metres tall. The plant can be distinguished from native species by the two small holes at its leaf base and the ‘buckthorns’ – matching bumps – on the top of its leaves.
Evergreen buckthorn is an evergreen shrub/tree that grows up to 10m. There are separate male and female plants, which may account for its slow spread to date. It can quickly take over stream and forest margins and disturbed forests, changing the structure of native ecosystems. It is a serious threat to coastal areas as it can form thick stands and interfere with native plant regeneration.
This multi-stemmed evergreen shrub/tree is tolerant of dry or exposed conditions. It produces a lot of berries from a young age, which are dispersed by birds. It may also grow from suckers.
Evergreen buckthorn originates from the Mediterranean and was introduced to New Zealand as an ornamental plant. It is common in Auckland and on islands in the Hauraki Gulf. Evergreen buckthorn is limited in the Waikato region to only a few localised infestations in Hamilton, Te Kauwhata and the Coromandel. Infestations need to be identified and destroyed to prevent this weed from spreading further.
Waikato Regional Council is responsible for controlling evergreen buckthorn. However, landowners/occupiers in the Waikato are encouraged to report evergreen buckthorn on their properties. Evergreen buckthorn is also banned from being sold, propagated, distributed or included in commercial displays.
If you see this weed on your property, do not cut or treat it. Call 0800 BIOSEC (0800 246 732) to report it to your local biosecurity pest plant officer.
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