Gazania or ‘Treasure Flowers’ are environmental weeds currently invading native vegetation along the Surf Coast.
Although, these brightly coloured daisies seem attractive additions to gardens and nature strips, Gazania ‘escapees’ are causing serious problems to coastal flora and fauna.
If left unmanaged, Gazania will continue to spread and smother coastal dune and cliff vegetation within the Surf Coast, resulting in insidious weed infestations similar to that caused by Blackberry, Gorse and Boneseed.
Why is Gazania a problem??
Gazania withstand salt-laden winds, are extremely drought tolerant and thrive in sandy soils – making them the perfect invader of coastal areas such as the Surf Coast and Bellarine Peninsula.
Gazania spread via abundant wind-blown seed and by forming dense mats. The plants out-compete native species, such as orchids and lilies, for resources, degrade habitat and interrupt important ecological processes.
Furthermore, Gazania are freely available from local nurseries for less than $10. The plants are marketed as ‘soil-stabilisers, water-wise, easy-to-grow and low-maintenance’ making Gazania appear economically attractive and environmentally friendly.
BUT DON’T BE FOOLED – Gazania is considered a significant environmental weed and has the potential to completely cover the ground on which it grows, displacing native vegetation and directly threatening rare flora and fauna (Impact Assessment – Gazania in Victoria, Department of Primary Industries Victoria).
What does Gazania look like??
Gazania is a low-growing plant, which is easy to identify (you can spot Gazania along the Jan Juc cliff tops !). Look out for the following features:
- Low-growing herb to 30 cm tall.
- Leaves are either shiny or hairy and densely matted. Bright green or grey on the top with white with smooth hairs below.
- Flowers in spring and summer (but can flower all year round in right conditions).
- Showy, bright daisy flowers in tones of yellow, orange and red
- Flowers close at night.
How Can I Help??
Herbicide control of Gazania is notoriously difficult. The best way to prevent the spread of Gazania is to…
- Remove (dig out) existing plants form your garden and nature strip. Avoid purchasing and planting Gazania.
- You can also help control and eradicate Gazania from the Jan Juc cliffs by pulling weeds and planting trees with the Jan Juc Coast Action Group.
Where: Jan Juc cliff top car parks (Bird rock, Little Rock).
When: First Sunday of every month, 10am – 12pm.
What to Bring: Yourself, your family and your friends – we’ll supply the rest (even morning tea!).
Or join the annual ‘Weed Whacking Day’ held by Jan Juc Coast Action Group on the Jan Juc cliff tops. Contact Luke Hynes from Jan Juc Coast Action on 0406 113 438 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
This article was published in the Surf Coast Times as part of the publications fortnightly “Going Green Column”.