Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | April 29, 2010

Icon could become pest

Did you know kiwifruit could become a weed?

Obviously not in orchards, but the wild ones that grow from seed (or reject fruit from orchards and packhouses).

Farmers have expressed interest in these reject kiwifruit as stock feed, but are being reminded of the risks – wild kiwifruit spreading into native bush has been likened to fellow-smotherer Old Man’s Beard.

With each fruit containing 1100 seeds, apparently, there is huge potential for birds to spread them far and wide.

I wonder if I will soon see them growing in my pig paddock? Like the wild tomato and courgette plants that turned up all over my vege garden after I used pig manure in it!

You never know – look at what happened the pretty gorse our ancestors brought over here in our early history.  And agapanthas – now on the national controlled plant register (I can’t remember the exact name for it, but you’re not allowed to buy them or move them into another region).

Plants have different effects in different environments. Rhododendron grows in our gardens in New Zealand but is considered a pest in parts of the UK, where gorse is the opposite – a pest here but not there.  Pohutakawa is considered a New Zealand icon, where it is a rampant threat in South Africa.

New Zealand has more than 2500 plant species that people should be concerned about, but the difficulty is that half of them are growing in our gardens.

Imagine in 30 years time what could be a huge problem choking the Kawekas, Ruahines, Te Ureweras or Southern Alps. Often we don’t know something is a threat until it is too late. Something might be fine at sea level but go mad when taken into the hills. Climate change could play a part in that too – who knows what changes in average temperatures or the flood-drought scenario will do to certain plants.

Something to ponder as the sun continues to shine on Hawke’s Bay (we didn’t even get  five minutes of the rain that Southland and Fiordland have been whacked with). The good news for me there though, is that my family no longer  has a crib on the foreshore of Lake Wakatipu. The good old 1999 (I think) flood put paid to that one – we’re now up the hill, out of harm’s way!



  1. Yea to the crib being out of harms way – the old one would now be surrounded by water

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