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"Kiwi Christmas tree" under threat from rhamnus

"Kiwi Christmas tree" under threat from rhamnus

8 November 2004

The iconic pohutukawa - affectionately known as the Kiwi Christmas tree - is under threat from an invasive shrub called rhamnus.

The garden escapee, rhamnus, is invading coastal areas of the Auckland Region and offshore islands, preventing native plants such as the pohutukawa from being able to grow. The Auckland Regional Council is also concerned that the shrub may be establishing inland as well.

ARC Biosecurity Manager Jack Craw says the ARC is on a mission to wipe out rhamnus because of its potential to take over coastal and other areas in the region, to the point where no new native plants are able to grow.

"If we don't something about this nasty pest plant we may end up seeing a rhamnus-lined coastline instead of the beautiful pohutukawa trees in full bloom over the summer months," Mr Craw says. "But the ARC Biosecurity Team can't eradicate this shrub unless we have the public's help in identifying its whereabouts."

Mr Craw wants anyone who sees rhamnus to call the ARC during business hours on 366 2000 (phone 0800 806 040 outside the Auckland free calling area), or email details of where the shrub been sighted to biosecurity@arc.govt.nz.

From November to December rhamnus has red berries that turn black and is often found growing on coastal and cliff areas. It has green leaves, grows up to 10 metres high, and looks like a native Coprosma.


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