Otanomomo Reserve weed problem

The Otanomomo Scientific Reserve has been invaded by weeds from neighbouring gardens that are taking over this rare patch of local bush.

The invasive Chilean flame creeper. Photo by Jon Sullivan

The invasive Chilean flame creeper. Photo by Jon Sullivan

Otanomomo is an important remnant of coastal broadleaf forest that survived the farming expansion in the Otago region. Giants such as rimu, kahikatea and matai towers arise above the canopy.

The number one problem is the invasive Chilean flame creeper. The beautiful appearance of this red-flowered climber conceals an insidious and effective tree killer.

The creeper climbs up to the canopy level, smothering rare and endangered natives such as the tree daisy. It does so in such a quick fashion that its eradication from the reserve is practically impossible at the present moment.

South Otago branch members are aiming to help the Department of Conservation to solve this problem. Members of the Dunedin branch, students from the University of Otago and members of the general public also joined this collective effort to free Otanomomo from the entangling weeds.