Plants that invade bushland

Page last updated: Thursday, 11 December 2014 - 10:10am

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Many exotic plants from overseas and elsewhere in Australia, escape from properties and invade natural habitats in Western Australia. As environmental weeds they cause great damage, often crowding out native vegetation on which native animals depend for food or shelter. 

These invasive species succeed in bushland due to their vigorous growth and tolerance of difficult conditions. These same qualities initially make them popular, although many later regret planting species that become uncontrollable, both in their own and neighbours’ properties.

How invasive plants escape from gardens

One means by which invasive plant species reach bushland is the dumping of rubbish containing seeds and plant material that regenerates vegetatively. As the rubbish breaks down, the soil is enriched with nutrients that encourage weeds to invade and deter the growth of native species.

People also unintentionally spread plants into bushland when seeds are carried on clothing, shoes, pets, and car tyres. If someone takes green waste to the tip in an uncovered trailer, seeds and cuttings can fall off at the roadside. 

Natural agents also aid the spread – winds carry seeds; waterways transport seeds and vegetative material; and birds eat berries then excrete the seeds. With such diverse means of dispersal, the only way to stop certain plants becoming environmental weeds is not to cultivate them in the first place, and to get rid of existing invasive plants.


Contact information

Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080