Return of the Barkly Strangler
One of Australia’s worst weeds has returned to the Northern Territory.
Known locally as the Barkly Strangler, rubber vine (Cryptostegia grandiflora) was found recently on Soudan Station near the Ranken River in the eastern Barkly Tablelands.
Rubber vine is a Weed of National Significance (WoNS) native to Madagascar that has infested much of Queensland, costing that state’s beef industry millions of dollars.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional weeds officer Chris Brown said the recent discovery of rubber vine is of major concern and urged people to report any sightings by calling 8951 9210 or 8999 4567.
“Rubber vine was recently found on the same station it was first seen at in 2011,” Mr Brown said.
“The site has been routinely monitored with all rubber vine plants recruited from the residual seedbank being controlled on the site and I thank Soudan Station managers for being extremely diligent in assisting us in our efforts to limit the spread and impact of this noxious weed.
“The recent discovery of rubber vine by Northern Territory weeds officers highlights the need for constant vigilance, as re-establishment would be an economic and environmental disaster.
“Rubber vine has the potential to destroy much of our pastoral land and native vegetation if it becomes established and spreads through a range of vectors such as wind, water, vehicles, animal feed and even animals themselves.
“This invasive weed is a perennial woody climbing vine that can also reduce access to waterways and is known to be toxic to livestock.
“The source of the infestation will be investigated and the location monitored for other occurrences.
“Rubber vine is a declared Class A (to be eradicated) and Class C (not to be introduced) weed here in the Territory and is recognisable by its pink to purple trumpet-shaped flowers and milky sap.
“As the Dry Season is now underway and people start moving around properties a lot more we ask them to keep an eye out for rubber vine and other highly noxious weeds such as mesquite and prickly acacia.”
Go to www.nt.gov.au/environment/weeds for more information about rubber vine and other invasive weeds.