Illustrated Guide to
of New Zealand
Weeds of New Zealand
by Ian Popay, Paul Champion & Trevor James
ISBN 0 473 09760 5
by kind permission of the
Zealand Plant Protection Society
Publication or other use of images or descriptive
text on these pages is unauthorised unless written permission is
obtained from the authors and publisher.
of the publication Common Weeds of New Zealand must always
Available from Touchwood
deciduous, woody perennial climber, growing 20 m or more tall on
trees. Attractive, creamy-white flowers in summer, followed by seeds
with long, fluffy hairs. The leaves, failing in autumn and regrowing
in spring, are in opposite pairs, and each is divided into usually
five widely-spaced leaflets.
- Flowers Creamy-white,
2-3 cm in diameter, fragrant. The four or five, sharply bent back,
petal-like sepals are softly-hairy. The numerous, cream-coloured
stamens are conspicuous. The flowers are in loosely branched,
flat- or convex-topped inflorescences in the leaf axils. Flowers
- Fruit Grey,
hairy, white-plumed seeds (achenes) 2-2.5 mm long, in dense fluffy
clusters persisting through winter, giving rise to the common
name. Seeds spread by wind.
- Leaves The
leaves, falling in autumn, are thin, papery, softly-hairy, bluntly-toothed,
growing in opposite pairs. Each leaf is divided into five heart-
to lance-shaped leaflets.
- Stems Very
long, woody, six-angled, strongly-ribbed, with light-coloured
bark that easily rubs off. Stems root wherever they touch ground
to make new plants. New growth is green-mauve.
- Roots Fibrous.
forest margins, hedges and trees.
Widespread and common
throughout NI, and in SI except for Westland and Fiordland. Also
found on Stewart and Chatham Islands. Originally from Europe and
Has become a very serious
problem in some areas in bush remnants and reserves. Has the ability
to smother and eventually bring down large trees. The species
has spread widely since the 1940s. Control is difficult and labour-intensive.
Biological control is being attempted, but its effectiveness cannot
yet be evaluated. Listed on the National
Pest Plant Accord (see Introduction for details). The occasional
death of cattle from eating this plant has been recorded in England.
is another adventive deciduous clematis, but with thicker, bipinnate
leaves and white flowers, in hedgerows and scrub in northern NI,
Nelson and Canterbury. The native clematis species are all evergreen
with three leaflets (except for the leafless Clematis afoliata).
of botanical name
name for a climbing plant; vitalba (Lat.) = white vine.