All eyes needed in battle to halt weedy invader

Orange hawkweed in flower.jpg

Visitors to kunanyi / Mount Wellington are urged to keep their eyes peeled for a colourful bushland invader this summer.

The City of Hobart is asking everyone who visits the mountain over the next month to be on the lookout for the beautiful but environmentally harmful orange hawkweed in a bid to keep the highly invasive alpine weed out of Wellington Park.

During the past three years, the Fern Tree community has played a critical role in finding and eliminating orange hawkweed from gardens and nearby bushland. The City of Hobart is now expanding its efforts across kunanyi / Mount Wellington.

“Hobart’s spring rains have created ideal conditions for orange hawkweed to flourish and flower, so if any plants have been missed by previous inspections, this summer is the time to find them,” Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said.

“To help this effort, we’re calling on everyone who visits and loves the mountain to be on the lookout out for the bright, daisy like orange-red flowers that are a hallmark of orange hawkweed and to report any sightings to the City of Hobart as soon as possible.

“If you are a runner, walker, mountain bike rider or day tripper, please keep an eye out for this weed and help protect the mountain’s sensitive alpine environment.”

Parks and Recreation Committee Chair Jeff Briscoe said orange hawkweed was a serious environmental invader that outcompeted native species and could take over cooler sub-alpine and alpine areas.

“If anyone thinks they have seen the weed on the mountain’s walking and bike riding tracks, it is extremely important they do not disturb the plant,” Ald Briscoe said.

“Instead, we ask that you take a photo and upload it to the City of Hobart’s new orange hawkweed reporting page (hobartcity.com.au/ohw), where you can pin the location to an online map.”

Prompt treatment of known populations of orange hawkweed has limited its spread and the weed is still present in small enough numbers to make eradication possible.

The City of Hobart is putting up signs at the Springs, in Fern Tree Park and other popular areas in Wellington Park, asking visitors to help hunt down any remaining plants.

Orange hawkweed is clearly identifiable by its distinctive orange flowers and hairy stems and leaves. It closely resembles the common lawn weeds dandelion and hawkbit, but is far more invasive.

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