Easter Cassia flower - 15 May 2015

Easter Cassia Senna pendula var. glabrata

By: Michael Fox

Around Easter each year you can see the beautiful yellow splashes of colour in our urban bushland as the environmental weed Easter Cassia Senna pendula var. glabrata comes into flower.

Our last Friday Bushcare at Roly Chapman Bushland Reserve focused on clearing Easter Cassia before another season’s crop of seed matures and spreads the weed further.

Easter Cassia seed pods - 15 May 2015

Easter Cassia seed pods

Diamond-leaf Pittosporum - Auranticarpa rhombifolia - 15 May 2015 lr

Australian Holly/Christmas Berry Ardisia crenata

Australian

Easter Cassia produces beautiful flowers for much of the year. However, it also produces large numbers of seed pods spreading from gardens into urban bushland and shading out native plant species.

You can help protect our bushland by replacing Easter Cassia with native Sennas which have yellow flowers, grow to a similar 2 to 3 metres in height and attract a range of butterflies to your garden. See Toowoomba Plants article on native Sennas and butterflies.

Attractive garden plants like Australian Holly/Christmas Berry Ardisia crenata often become environmental weeds in our urban bushland as they are dumped at garden waste or spread by birds. The moist conditions within Roly Chapman Bushland Reserve make this important habitat particularly vulnerable to invasion by Ardisia crenata.

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Chinese Elm - 15 May 2015

Chinese Elm removed with Treepopper

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We also used the Treepopper to remove a well established Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis. Another garden escapee that crowds out native plant species vital to our native birds, butterflies and bees.

When ever possible we avoid using poison. Instead we pull woody weeds up roots and all with the Treepopper.

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Grey Butcherbird - 15 May 2015

Grey Butcherbird Cracticus torquatus

Our bush restoration work is very satisfying as we clear the weeds and watch the regrowth of native habitat. And every Friday as we work we are joined by a family of Grey Butcherbirds Cracticus torquatus looking for breakfast of spiders, centipedes and bush cockroaches. These birds are so used to us now that they will land on a branch right beside you and pose while you take photos or sing cheerful tunes that seem to be thank-you songs.

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Source of infection - mature Umbrella Tree

Source of infection – mature Umbrella Tree

By: Michael Fox

After inspecting Fox Gully Bushcare site Zone 10, I yesterday removed 53 small and 6 large mature Umbrella Trees Schefflera actinophylla. A similar infestation in Zone 11 will be removed this week. I also removed a number of Camphor Laurel Cinnamomum camphora and Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis trees, as well as, Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses. These environmental weeds are all spread by seeds being eaten by birds and other animals.

Umbrella Trees, from North Queensland, produce a large number of seeds which are spread from backyards to bushland or other backyards when eaten by birds. The cluster of over fifty small trees in a limited area shows how quickly these environmental weeds can spread and impact on the native plant species or invade a neighbour’s backyard. Seeds from the large trees were bagged for disposal offsite to reduce the risk of re-infection.

Umbrella Tree seeds

Umbrella Tree seeds

Weeds are one of the three key threats to the long term bio-diversity of Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. Most weed infections are caused by seeds spread by birds or wind, or result from dumping of garden waste including grass clippings in the bush. One of the most frustrating parts of our bush restoration work is dealing with restored areas re-infected with seeds dispersed from urban backyards.

You can support the efforts of Habitat Brisbane

 

Cluster of young Umbrella Trees

Cluster of young Umbrella Trees

Bushcare groups across the city by removing the sources of infection from your backyard.

  • Umbrella Trees Schefflera actinophylla
  • Camphor Laurel Cinnamomum camphora
  • Chinese Elm Celtis sinensis
  • Creeping Lantana Lantana montevidenses