Woolly Nightshade

21 Dec, 2020

Solanum mauritianum. Also known as tobacco weed or nightshade tree, this capsicum-smelling tree of 10m is one of the most rampant weeds found in New Zealand and has made its way on to the top list of worst weeds in the country.

The Woolly Nightshade also produces toxins that poison the soil and causes slow regeneration for future and neighbouring plants.

This rapidly maturing plant has a whitish dusting of hairs over its leaves on branching, soft, woody stems. The flowers are purple with yellow centres and are followed by clusters of yellowy-green berries.

Berries are poisonous and the fine hairs on the leaves can irate eyes, skin and throat.

Seeds can be dispersed by birds, especially native pigeons (kereru).

Physical Control

Keep a close eye out for new saplings that start to grow. When they are young they can easily be pulled out. Larger plants will need to be dug out.

Chemical Control

Option 1

Cut plants down to stumps and then immediately apply Cut ‘n’ Paste Picloram Gel. This gel will be taken into the plants’ root systems and only affect the plants which the gel has been applied to.

Option 2

Spray in summer/autumn with Weed Weapon Extra Strength, ensure a complete coverage of the leaves.

Visit https://www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/services/plant-and-animal-pests/woolly-nightshade/ for methods of treatment.

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