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
Very spiny, woody
perennial shrub up to 2 m or more tall. Glorious yellow flowers
mostly in autumn, winter and early spring, followed by explosive
Magnificent massed display of solitary, golden-yellow pea-like
flowers, 15-20 mm in diameter. Flowers May-Nov.
Black pods, up to 25 mm long, with soft grey hairs. Pods split
explosively to disperse the few shiny, smooth round seeds.
True leaves are on the seedlings only, changing to narrow, deeply
furrowed, rigid spines 15-30 mm long, with shorter lateral spines.
Erect or spreading, branched, deeply-furrowed, with many stiff
Deep, branched, woody roots.
scrubland, forest margins and waste land.
NZ including Stewart, Chatham, Campbell and Auckland Islands.
Originally from western Europe to Italy.
New Zealand's worst
weed, originally introduced as a hedging plant and ornamental,
and now established on thousands of hectares of hill and less
intensively farmed country. Despite the expenditure of millions
of dollars on herbicides, discing, slashing and burning, this
weed is still a huge and expensive problem. It recovers quickly
after being burnt, but, in many areas, if left undisturbed for
long enough, it acts as a nurse crop for the regeneration of native
bush. Gorse is also a problem weed in parts of Spain, Portugal,
Chile, Ireland, coastal Oregon and southern Australia. Several
insect species have been introduced in attempts at biological
control. The gorse seed weevil (Apion ulicis) has become
established in most parts of NZ, and reduces seed production considerably,
but much seed survives. The gorse spider mite (Tetranychus
lintearius) established well in some areas, but predatory
insects reduce its effectiveness in some places. Subject to Pest
Plant Management Strategies in most regions of NZ. Details are
available from individual regional councils or unitary authorities.
of botanical name
= gorse; europaeus (Lat.) = European