Invasive Species in Rawene

Cross posted from The General Practitioner.

Of course there is a lot more to living in New Zealand than just the work I’m doing.  One knows immediately that one is entering a protected biosphere when going through Biosecurity clearance upon arrival at the airport.  Recent headlines about a lapse in the biosecurity system reflected a national scandal. We’ve been doing our share of sight-seeing while here, and there will be more posts along those lines in the future. One particular thing that has been interesting to me is to see the difference in what are considered invasive species between New Zealand and Washington.  We daily run into quite a few problematic plants here in our little Rawene. Nasturtium   The first time we saw it growing on one of the hills here, we thought, “Oh great! We can grow nasturtium here like we did in Washington!” Then we kept seeing it more…and more…and more. Gorse I imagine my Washington state readers see this picture and think, “Hey! It’s Scotch Broom!” Up close the resemblance is even more apparent:  Turns out that gorse is a cousin to Scotch Broom.  We’ll do our own little gorse-eradication program one of these weekends soon. Some of the invasive species are pretty easy on the eyes, like calla lily   Some are overwhelming in their sheer biomass, like this stuff that I’m told is called Elephant Grass:

It’s everywhere.

The last one I’ve got to share here is the only where I’ve actually seen notification signs reminding people to help in the eradication.  Wild ginger:

Imagine my disappointment upon learning that you can’t use it for food.

I’ll try to post something about native New Zealand plants soon.


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