Is Bowral becoming the Weed Capital of the Southern Highlands?

The Southern Highlands, once fondly known in gardening circles as being the ideal place to establish traditional exotic gardens, is now becoming a haven for many environmental weeds.

Australia is one of the few developed nations where the natural environment is still resilient and evident. We are privileged to live in and enjoy the benefits and beauty of natural landscapes and the wonderful diversity of life and resource found within.

Environmental weeds pose a threat to our natural ecosystems and vegetation communities. They have spread mainly from urban and public gardens. They are commonly referred to as “garden escapees”.

The Southern Highlands, once fondly known in gardening circles as being the ideal place to establish traditional exotic gardens, is now becoming a haven for many environmental weeds. Unless sustainable action is taken to contain the spread of environmental weeds, Bowral could become known as the environmental weed capital of the southern highlands.

Unlike Noxious Weeds, environmental weeds are not controlled by legislation, so it’s up to us to control them and stop their devastating impact on our local environment.

Many environmental weeds are commonly sold through plant nurseries and garden centres. These plants should not be sold or cultivated as they cost our community dearly in both economic terms and ecological degradation.

If you have environmental weeds in your garden, seriously consider removing them and replanting with more friendly plant species. If you cannot afford to or do not want to remove them from your garden please think of the environment and remove their seed heads before they mature or prune regularly to remove flowering wood to avoid flowering and subsequent seed set.

Many landscape and garden designers still use environmental weeds in their designs. Most nurseries and garden centres still sell and promote the use of environmental weeds.

If you are establishing a new garden avoid using any plants listed by your local council or the State Government as being an environmental weed.

Below is a list of plants that are classified by either the NSW State Government or Wingecarribee Shire Council as being environmental weeds.

Botanic NameCommon NameForm
Acacia baileyanaCootamundra WattleTree
Acer negundoBox-elder mapleTree
Acer pseudoplatanusSycamoreTree
Acetosa sagittataTurkey RhubarbVine
Agapanthus praecoxAgapanthus, Lily of the NileLily
Ailanthus altissimaTree of HeavenTree
Anredera cordifoliMadiera VineVine
Araujia sericiferaMoth VineVine
Asparagus spp.Asparagus Fern, Bridal Creeper, Bridal Veil CreeperFern
Berberis aristata & B. vulgarisBarberryShrub
Buddleja davidiiButterfly BushShrub
Calicotome spinosaSpiny BroomShrub
Cassinia arcuataDrooping CassiniaShrub
Cinnamomum camphoraCamphor LaurelTree
Cotoneaster spp.CotoneastersShrub
Crateagus spp.HawthornShrub
Crocosmia x crocosmifloraMonbretiaLily
Cyperus eragrostisUmbrella SedgeGrass
Daucus carotaWild CarrotHerb
Delairea odorataCape IvyVine
Erica lusitanicaSpanish HeathShrub
Foeniculum vulgareFennelHerb
Genista spp.Montpellier & Cape BroomShrub
Gleditsia tricanthosHoney LocustTree
Hedera helixEnglish IvyVine
Ilex aquifoliumEnglish Holly, Common HollyTree
Ipomoea indicaMorning GloryVine
Jasminum polyanthumJasmineVine
Juncus acutusSpiny Rush, Spike RushGrass
Koelreuteria elegansGolden Rain TreeTree
Lavandula stoechasFrench LavanderShrub
Leucanthemum vulgareOx-eye DaisyGroundcover
Ligustrum lucidumLarge leaved PrivetShrub
Ligustrum sinenseSmall leaved PrivetShrub
Lillium formosanumFormosan LilyLily
Lonicer japonicaJapanese HoneysuckleVine
Ludwidgia peruvianaWater PrimroseAquatic
Lycium ferocissimumAfrican BoxthornShrub
Myosotis spp.Forget Me NotGroundcover
Olea europaea subs cuspidataAfrican OliveTree
Olea europaea subs europaeaEuropean OliveTree
Oxalis pes-carpraeButtercup OxalisGroundcover
Passiflora molissimaBanana PassionfruitVine
Pennisetum clandestinumKikuyuGrass
Phalaris aquaticBulbous Canary GrassGrass
Phyllostachys spp.BambooGrass
Pinus halepensisAleppo PineTree
Pinus radiataMonterey PineTree
Populus albaWhite Poplar, Silver PoplarTree
Populus nigraLombardy PoplarTree
Prunus laurascerasusCherry LaurelShrub
Pyracantha spp.FirethornShrub
Ranunculus repensCreeping ButtercupGroundcover
Robinia pseudoacaciaBlack LocustTree
Salix spp.Willows - all varietiesTree
Spartium junceumSpanish BroomShrub
Thunbergia spp.ThunbergiaVine
Tradescantia fluminensisWandering JewGroundcover
Typha spp.CumbungiGrass
Vinca majorBlue PeriwinkleGroundcover
Watsonia spp.Bugle LilyLily
Zantedeschia aethiopicaArum LilyLily

Protect our natural environment by becoming aware of the threats that environmental weeds pose to natural ecosystems and the financial costs borne by our community in trying to control them.

By retaining the integrity of our natural environment, we will ensure future generations will continue to enjoy the resources and benefits provided by nature.

Being the garden capital of the southern highlands, Bowral and its environs enjoys the economic benefits from tourism generated. How long this prestigious perception and financial benefits continue will depend upon how our gardening community and our local government deal with this emerging and rather resilient problem.

We take pride in the beauty of our shire. It amazes me that we as a community have neglected all major roads leading into Bowral and allowed them to be dominated by environmental weeds. It also amazes me that our local council (who prides itself on being environmental pro-active) could also allow this to happen.

It is time we stopped looking through our rose coloured glasses and attend to the issue of environmental weeds in a sustainable and resilient manner.

I encourage all to become aware of and proactive in dealing with the continuing degradation of natural vegetation within roadside reserves resulting from “garden escapees”.

Parry Drive, Bowral

Parry Drive, Bowral

Traditional Bowral gardens contain many plants that threaten our natural landscapes.

Traditional Bowral gardens contain many plants that threaten our natural landscapes.

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