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Boneseed

Boneseed plant

Boneseed seedling

Boneseed (L) & African daisy (R) seedlings

Bitou bush leaves & flower

Senecio angulatus, climbing groundsel

Osteospermum, African daisy1

Osteospermum, African daisy2

 


family

Asteraceae (daisy family)

status

Boneseed (Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp monilifera) is declared noxious in all coastal Local Government Areas in either
Class 3 (Bega Valley) or 4 (Eurobodalla, Shoalhaven and Illawarra
LCAs). Neither are declared in non-coastal LCAs in the ST and SE Region,
although boneseed may occur as an occasional garden escape in these
areas. It cannot be propagated or sold anywhere in the state.  With bitou bush, it is listed as a Weed of National Significance.

Description

Boneseed is an evergreen shrub usually about 1-2 m high, but up to 4 metres. Leaves are bright green and broadly
oval, thick and fleshy, with toothed margins. New growth is whitish with a covering of fine hairs. Yellow
daisy flowers with 11-13 petals are followed by black fleshy fruits 6-8
mm in diameter, in small clusters. Each fruit contains one oval, ribbed
seed 5-7mm long.

Preferred habitat AND IMPACTS

Boneseed is usually a garden escapee, which invades adjacent bush.  On the far south coast it has been found in forest and coastal dunes. It is not usually a weed of farming areas because it is
eaten by livestock. Boneseed can form a dense cover which suppresses native
shrubs and groundcover species and prevents tree regeneration.  Boneseed is a major problem in
Victoria, but uncommon on the NSW south coast.

Dispersal

Birds
and other animals. Movement of seed-contaminated soil.

Look-alikes

Bitou bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp rotundata) is very similar but has leaves with a more rounded tip and fewer (or sometimes no) marginal teeth. It is usually a weed of near-coastal situations: beach dunes and nearby forest, though birds can spread the seed further inland.  Check the bitou bush page for more look-alikes.

A weed with similar fleshy leaves is the shrubby climber, climbing groundsel (Senecio angulatus),
but its leaves are bluntly angular, not toothed. It also has yellow
daisy flowers, but the seeds are more typical daisy seeds with a
parachute of hairs, like those of dandelions.

Another common garden escape weed, African daisy (Osteospermum species) has similar toothed leaves but a more sprawling, less upright habit and flowers with white, mauve or purple "petals" and a dark blue centre.  This is a very common garden plant which escapes into forest and coastal dunes. Its seedlings can be very hard to distinguish from boneseed, but lack the white cottony hairs on new growth and are less upright in their growth habit.

Control

For
large plants growing amongst native vegetation, use cut and paint to
minimise impacts on native vegetation. Scattered seedlings and smaller
plants can be hand-pulled or dug out. Spraying with glyphosate (eg Round
Up) or metsulfuron (eg Brush Off) is used for dense infestations.

A hot fire can be used to
kill mature plants, kill shallowly buried seed and stimulate germination
of most deeper seed, after which seedlings can be sprayed. Burning may
be appropriate in forests, but should not be used on dunes, where it
could promote erosion. Fire should not be used unless the resources are
available for follow-up control of new boneseed seedlings, and other weeds
which may also invade. Burning after spraying can be useful in removing
dead material to provide easier access for follow-up work.