Bitou bush – identification, surveillance and control in Queensland

My name is Stacy Harris, I’m a biosecurity
officer based at Nambour, Sunshine Coast, Nambour, Queensland. My main role is prevention
and early detection of invasive plants and animals.
What are the impacts? Bitou bush is an aggressive weed along the
coast. It can outcompete, and in some cases, totally eliminate native flora.
What does it look like? Bitou bush has a little daisy-like flower
and flowers nearly all year round. Its new growth has a little white cobweb on it which
is quite distinctive. It can grow prostrate along the ground and it can also grow like
a vine up a tree. So it depends on what situation in grows in as to what it looks like.
How does it spread? Bitou bush is mainly spread by birds consuming
the small little berries and passing out the seeds. Foxes have also been found to consume
the berries as seedlings have been found growing out of fox scats.
Where can you find it? In the wide bay area, bitou bush can be found
at Rainbow Beach, Inskip and the southern tip of Fraser Island. We’re in Rainbow Beach,
Queensland, this area has been a bit of a hot spot for a long time, but these days,
we only find one or two plants a year. Here we have a map and it shows where we have found
bitou bush before in this area. The red one was last year and we have our survey tracks
in different colours for each year as well. This helps us coordinate as to where to go
each time we come here. How do you control it?
When we do find bitou bush, one this size is pretty easy to pull out as they’re shallow-rooted
and it’s growing in sand. If we find one that’s a bit bigger, we use the cut stump
method, we’ll cut him off and put vigilant on the stump, we’ll hang it up so it can’t
vegetatively reproduce. So we’re going to mark this one with a bit of flagging tape
so it’s easy to find in six months’ time. This is the first time in the history of the
30 year eradication project that we haven’t detected a single bitou bush on the sand cliffs
on Rainbow Beach. This is really giving us hope that we’re winning the war.
For more information call 13 25 23 or visit

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