Pretty but dangerous: 5 plants you don’t want in your yard

This year's wet summer has allowed gardeners to get back to planting and restoring their properties and gardens, but it is also an opportunity for weeds to propagate.

Bush Regeneration and Weed Control expert at Rous County Council, Yusuke Koda, has put a quick list of five plants that are commonly found in Northern NSW that are best to be avoided, and five native plants that will bring bees, birds and other insects back to your backyard.

 

5 plants not to plant in your yard

 

Yellow Bells (Tecoma stans)

 

Yellow Bells flower head. Photo: Contributed.
Yellow Bells flower head. Photo: Contributed.

 

 

Invasive shrub introduced into Australia as an ornamental plant. It's eye-catching bright yellow flowers are tubular in shape with large petals.

It can quickly form a dense thicket and becomes difficult to eradicate once established.

 

Broad-leaf Pepper Tree (Schinus terebinthifolius)

 

Broad leaved pepper tree. Photo Contributed
Broad leaved pepper tree. Photo Contributed

Fast-growing, multi branched small tree with bright red berries.

As the name suggests, both leaves and fruits have a peppery smell, but they are poisonous.

It can spread by birds and colonise disturbed bushlands if not controlled.

 

• Chinese Violet (Asystasia gangetica subsp. micrantha)

 

Chinese violet Photo Contributed
Chinese violet Photo Contributed

This rapid-growing sprawler can form thick mats on the ground in various environments including bush, gardens, pastures, lawns and coastal sand dunes.

The attractive white bell-shaped flowers have purple blotches in two parallel lines on the bottom petal.

It can spread aggressively by seeds as well as plant fragments. A Control Order has been issued under the Biosecurity Act 2015.

Contact Rous County Council Weed Biosecurity if you see Chinese Violet in your garden.

 

Green Cestrum (Cestrum parqui)

 

Alex Burgess showing some Green Cestrum weed. This weed is highly toxic and a single mouthful will be fatal to a cow.
Alex Burgess showing some Green Cestrum weed. This weed is highly toxic and a single mouthful will be fatal to a cow.

Large shrub with a cluster of yellow tubular flowers and black ball-shaped berries.

Toxic to human, livestock and other animals. Leaves a bitumen-like smell when crushed.

It is often confused with a closely-related species, Lady Of The Night (Cestrum nocturnum) that has white flowers and berries.• Cecropia (Cecropia spp.)

 

Cecropia is a Neotropical genus consisting of 61 recognised species with a highly distinctive lineage of dioecious trees. In this photo, Cecropia peltata.
Cecropia is a Neotropical genus consisting of 61 recognised species with a highly distinctive lineage of dioecious trees. In this photo, Cecropia peltata.

An ornamental tree with potential to become a serious threat to the environment.

While the emergence of Cecropia in our region is minimised, we still find the trees sporadically in people's yards and gardens.

It has very large circular and palmate shaped leaves with dense white hairs on the underside. If you look up a funky looking tree and spot lots of big white leaves, please contact us for positive plant identification.

 

 

For more information on weeds and to contact the Rous County Council Weed Biosecurity, click here or call 66233800.

 

 

5 native plants to plant in your yard

 

Lilly Pillies (Syzygium spp.)

 

Syzygium, Eva Erhardt gardening, Townsville Sun
Syzygium, Eva Erhardt gardening, Townsville Sun

 

Native shrubs with edible and bird attracting fruits. It can thrive in many types of soils and is very hardy.

There are various cultivars available at your local nursery and can be used for hedging, screening and landscaping.

 

Bottlebrushes (Callistemon spp.)

 

Bottle brushes.
Bottle brushes.

 

Native shrubs with attractive 'bottlebrush'-shaped flowers that attract bees and honeyeaters.

Similar to Lilly Pillies, Bottlebrush is widely used for gardening and landscaping, and a variety of cultivars are available to meet your ornamental needs.

 

Lomandra (L. longifolia or hystrix) -

 

Lomandra on the banks of a creek.
Lomandra on the banks of a creek.

These two species are tough as native ground cover, commonly used for bank stabilisation, revegetation and landscaping.

It can be used for low hedging as it has spiky fruits and can grow up to 1.5m.

Choose longifolia for the general soil conditions and hystrix for wetter soils, including water edges and creek banks.

 

Finger Lime (Citrus australasica) -

 

Finger Lime.
Finger Lime.

Very common bush tucker plant with beautiful fruits that can be used for cooking, garnishing, cocktails etc.

Different varieties feature different fruit colour.

"Personally, I am not a big fan of thorny plants, but the taste and jewel-like appearance of fruit overweighs the thorns. Besides, it is native!" Said Mr Koda.

 

Wonga Wonga Vine (Pandorea pandorana)

 

 

Wonga Wonga vine
Wonga Wonga vine

 

If you are looking for a native alternative to invasive Cape ivy or Japanese honeysuckle vines, this is less vigorous and has cute white flowers that attract butterflies.

It grows on most soils and tolerates the sun and shades.

There are few cultivar species on the market.


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