Invasive orchids get the boot

Jan Juc Coast Action (JJCA) faced an unusual task during their last working bee for 2015 – finding and removing the tenacious South African orchid Disa bractreata.

The highly invasive orchid species first appeared in Victoria in the mid-1990s after being introduced in Western Australia in 1946.

Volunteer pulling up orchid
Ian Edwards removes one of 15 South African orchids from the Jan Juc clifftop in the December 2015 working bee. Photo: Faye Milligan.

A group of volunteers successfully removed more than a dozen plants along the fenced area in the Jan Juc reserve behind Carnoustie Avenue by spreading out in an emu parade fashion, walking a few meters apart to ensure no weeds were missed.

JJCA founder Ian Edwards said the working bee had been a very valuable exercise.

South African Orchid
One of the 15 South African orchids that was removed during the working bee. Photo: Faye Milligan

“When it comes to these orchids, it’s imperative for us to be as thorough as possible and I believe we’re making good progress,” he said.

“We’re keen to keep on top of the orchids as much as possible and we’ll be watching out for them each year from about mid-winter onwards.”

Each orchid has dozens of flowers on the stem, potentially releasing thousands of dust-like seeds that are spread by wind.

Ian said all the weeds were carefully removed and then microwaved to kill them before they were disposed of, all part of the systematic approach to reducing the risk of regrowth in the area. 

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