What's On > News

Garden thug smoothering the garden

Hello Neighbour — did you know your garden is about to be smothered by the garden thug pictured?

Araujia sericifera is commonly known as Moth Vine, kapok vine, and wild choko vine and is a fast-growing garden pest. It can also harm butterflies – including Monarchs – when their feeding parts become gummed up with the vine’s milky sap, leading to starvation and eventual death. Moths and bees can be trapped in the flowers too.

Moth Vine is a vigorous perennial climber up to 5 m or more tall. White, fragrant, bell-shaped flowers appear from December to May. They are followed by large, pear-shaped pods containing kapok-like material surrounding the black seeds.

There can be up to 500 seeds per pod, and seeds can travel 100m.

Moth Vine is a national surveillance pest because it can smother native plants and become the dominant species.

Broken parts exude a sticky milky latex.

What to do to get rid of Moth Vine?

Wear protective clothing before handling any part of the plant because its milky sap causes skin irritations; ensure too that you are wearing old clothes because the sap will stain.

  • Remove the pods and place in black plastic bags and allow to rot.
  • Remove the vine and any remaining flowers, and if possible dig out the root. If the root is too deep, please check www.weedbusters.co.nz for best info on how to get rid of the plant.

We really do need people to be aware of, and eradicate,  this environmental bully!

Kind regards and good gardening,

Catherine from Larchwood Ave