Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Weed: Arum Lily

Native to Southern Africa, it is a perennial herb that grows to about 1.5m high with stout stalks and large fleshy, arrowhead shaped leaves. The flower contains a yellow spike enclosed by a white funnel-like spathe with a stiff point. Flowers from winter to summer.

Photo credit: Arum lily, Zantedeschia aethiopica, Araceae / Andreas Kay / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Reproduction is by both rhizome and by seed. The seeds are held in succulent berries and are mainly dispersed by birds, but also running water and foxes can play a role. This weed can also be introduced into new areas of bushland by dumping of garden waste. It is now a widespread weed of damp areas and bushland. Control of the Arum Lily is by hand removal of the whole plant including the tuberous rhizomes. Small daughter rhizomes can dislodge as the larger rhizomes are removed, if not recovered the daughter rhizomes will produce new plants. In large areas of infestation the top growth of the Lily can be continually slashed to exhaust the rhizome. This needs to be done as the leaves emerge and may take years, the success relies on preventing the plant photosynthesising and replenishing the rhizome. Application of herbicide is effective between June and September and follow up will be required for a number of years. In wet areas, herbicide should be applied before water levels rise or once it has fallen.

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