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
New Zealand Plant
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
colony-forming perennial. Shoots with whorls of needle-like branches
similar to spurrey. Aerial parts die back each winter and appear
again in spring. Cone-like structures at the tip of fertile shoots.
Allied to ferns.
- Flowers No
flowers, but cone-like structures, 1-4 cm long, at the tips of
fertile stems contain spores.
- Fruit No
- Leaves Long,
thin, needle-like branches in whorls resemble leaves.
- Stems Erect,
green, grooved, with branches in whorls, sterile, up to 80 mm
long by 5 mm diameter. Smaller but thicker, unbranched, brown
fertile stems appear in spring and die after shedding spores in
- Roots Extensive
underground rhizomes, bearing round tubers, creeping and branching
freely penetrate to considerable depths, especially in shifting
sand banks in rivers.
Damp ground, river-banks,
lake margins and sandy or gravelly soils.
Uncommon but recorded
from Kawhia, Havelock North, New Plymouth, Wanganui, and lower
Rangitikei in NI. Marlborough, Nelson (200 ha infestation in a
valley near Karamea), Christchurch and Dunedin in SI. Originally
from temperate regions of northern hemisphere.
Used a pot scourer
in olden days in Europe, and for some homeopathic preparations.
Very difficult to control either with herbicides or by cultivation.
Common weed in parts of Europe. Species is toxic to animals. Of
limited distribution in NZ, and could become more widespread.
Listed on the National Pest Plant Accord
(see Introduction for details).
= horse bristle, the sterile stems resembling horses' tails; arvense
(Lat.) = of cultivated fields.