Help stamp out moth plant

Taranaki people are being urged to be on the lookout for the pest ‘moth plant’ which is spreading throughout New Plymouth and warmer parts of Taranaki.

The Taranaki Regional Council wants to know where it is growing so they can get rid of it and stop it spreading.

“The Council will carry out and pay to have moth plant destroyed wherever it is found growing in the region,” says the Council’s Environment Services Manager, Steve Ellis.

“Moth plant poses a significant threat if left untouched. It grows at a rapid rate, and can smother or collapse existing native vegetation and trees.”

“It will invade almost any frost-free habitat including stream margins, coastline, cliffs, gardens, untended sections and offshore islands,” says Mr Ellis

Moth plant (Araujera hortorum or A. sericifera) is included in the Taranaki Regional Council’s Pest Management Plan. It is an evergreen vine with twining, flexible stems, dark greyish-green, long triangular shaped leaves. In summer it has clusters of bell-shaped white to pink flowers then large autumn seed pods, thick skinned, leathery, pear-shaped containing kapok-like pulp. Ripe pods split open, releasing hundreds of black, thistledown-like seeds which can drift many kilometres on air currents.

Any sightings of moth plant should be reported to the Taranaki Regional Council, 0800 736 222.

For further information on Taranaki pest management requirements, go to www.trc.govt.nz/pest-plants