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Containment Control Plants

Information on containment control plants, those that are abundant in suitable habitats in the region with the long term goal to prevent these plants spreading to new areas or neighbouring properties.

Containment Control Plants

A containment control plant is one that is abundant in suitable habitats in the region and the long term goal is to prevent these plants spreading to new areas or neighbouring properties. Because they are widespread the cost of eradication is considered too great to justify more rigorous methods of control.

The Strategy requires land occupiers to keep their property, boundary free of the plant pest if it is not present within a defined distance of their property.

Containment Control plant pests are banned from sale, propagation and distribution under the Biosecurity Act 1993.

Here is a list of Containment Control Plants:

BATHURST BUR (Xanthium spinosum)

  • Spiny, woody annual up to 1m tall.
  • Flowers/seeds: inconspicuous flowers, fruit are small oval burs covered with slender hooks.
  • Dispersal: animal wool/hair or clothing, machinery.
  • Problems: burs can downgrade wool, seeds and seedlings poisonous to livestock.
  • Control/disposal: dig out, spray.

BLACKBERRY (Rubus fruticosus agg)

  • Prickly scrambling perennial shrub with thorny stems up to 8m long, berries red black when ripe.
  • Flowers/seeds: white/pink flowers, berries green then red/black when mature.
  • Dispersal: birds.
  • Problems: grows to form thicket which can harbour pests such as rabbits, hares, possums. It can impede water flow, and thorns entangle sheep. Can be a fire hazard in forestry and urban areas.
  • Control/disposal: root rake, dig, spray.

GORSE (Ulex europaens)

  • Spiny perennial shrub up to 4m tall. Conspicuous yellow flowers.
  • Flowers/seeds: bright yellow flowers, followed by dark, oval seed pods with greenish brown seeds.
  • Dispersal: stock and machinery.
  • Problems: seed can be viable for up to 80 years in the soil. Gorse grows vigorously forming thickets which can trap woolly animals.
  • Control/disposal: combination of two or more of biological control, stock management, mechanical clearance, and sprays.

NODDING THISTLE (Carduus nutans)

  • Spiny leafed annual or biennial up to 1.5m tall, dark green upper leaves with irregular toothed lobes, flowers 'nod' at right angles to stem when mature.
  • Flowers/seeds: purplish mauve flowers, seeds are heavy and fall close to the plant.
  • Dispersal: stock, birds and machinery.
  • Problems: forms dense clumps which smothers pasture. Its presence in seed can reject the crop for export.
  • Control/disposal: pasture management, sprays, biological controls.

RAGWORT (Senecio jacobaea)

  • Branched biennial or perennial plant 0.5 to 1.5m tall, bright yellow flowers, slightly furry leaves and purplish coloured stems
  • Flowers/seeds: bright yellow flowers, each plant can produce between 30,000 and 150,000 seeds of which 90% are viable.
  • Dispersal: machinery, animals, wind, water.
  • Problems: invades pasture, suppresses crop yields, toxic to cattle, habours pests.
  • Control/disposal: spray, dig, biological control. 

VARIEGATED THISTLE (Silybum marianum)

  • Conspicuous spiny annual/biennial thistle with a thick rosette of glossy dark green leaves with broad white patches around the veins on the upper surface.
  • Flowers/seeds: large purple flower heads. Many black/brown heavy parachute-like seeds.
  • Dispersal: machinery, animals, wind, water.
  • Problems: invades pasture, suppresses crop yields, toxic to cattle, harbours pests.
  • Control/disposal: pull out, spray.

What you can do to help

​We rely on Hawke's Bay residents to be our eyes and ears looking out and reporting unusual organisms so we can respond immediately. Whether you are a landowner, lifestyle property owner or urban resident, there are plant pests that will require dealing with at some time or another.

Find out more about specific plant pests in our information sheets.

If you would like help with a pest control problem, or wish to report anything you think our Pest Control team should know about you can do so on our Fix It page.


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