Thursday, 20 June 2019 Sydney
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RUBBER VINE FOUND IN THE NT GULF::

An infestation of the declared weed rubber vine (Cryptostegia grandiflora) has been found within the Northern Territory’s Gulf region.

There are currently no other known rubber vine infestations in the Territory.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources A/Regional Weed Officer for the Katherine District Susan King said rubber vine presents a serious threat to pastoral productivity and the environment.

“The vine rapidly ‘strangles’ the landscape, restricting land use and reducing biodiversity,” Ms King said.

Rubber vine is declared Class A weed (to be eradicated) and Class C weed (not to be introduced) in accordance with the Weeds Management Act 2001 (the Act). It is also recognised as a Weed of National Significance.

Native to Madagascar, rubber vine was introduced to Australia as an ornamental shrub circa 1875, but is now widespread in north Queensland. Isolated occurrences have previously been eradicated in the Territory.

It is a vigorous climber with twining, whip-like shoots that can grow unsupported as an untidy, multi-stemmed shrub 1-2m high, or it can climb up to 30m high in trees.

Rubber vine generally invades waterways first, where the seeds germinate in moist silt layers after rain.

The plant smothers riparian vegetation and forms dense, sometimes impenetrable thickets; this decreases biodiversity and prevents access to both stock and native animals.

Rubber vine is poisonous to stock, though seldom eaten.

The rubber vine detection was promptly reported to the Department’s Weed Management Branch by the landholder.

The Branch applauds the land holder for taking this proactive step and encourages other landholders to report new weed detections when they are discovered.

Weed Management Officers, rangers from the Department of Tourism, Sport and Culture and several station staff undertook the first eradication effort last week. There will be ongoing surveys and eradication effort as needed, to follow.

Anyone who thinks they have rubber vine on their property, or thinks they have seen it, is urged to contact the Weed Management Branch on 8973 8857.

Go to www.nt.gov.au/weeds for more information about weeds in the NT.