Tropical soda apple has been found in the Clarence Valley.
Tropical soda apple has been found in the Clarence Valley.

Noxious weed invading Clarence

PROPERTY owners in the Clarence have been put on alert after an infestation of the highly invasive weed tropical soda apple was found at Grafton only weeks after its first Australian discovery.

Coffs Harbour City Council's chief weeds officer Barry Powells said the noxious weed, which has the ability to quickly invade pastures, was found at the Grafton Sale Yards and at a property in the Valley in the last week.

“Tropical soda apple (solanum viarum) is a very invasive weed which has been discovered in the Kempsey area – the first known occurrence of this species in Australia,” he said.

Mr Powells said the plant, which is native to Brazil and Argentina, had wreaked havoc in several states in the US.

He said the shrub grew between one to two metres in height and had leaves and stems containing large white to yellow “thorn-like” prickles and white flowers.

“Immature fruits are similar in colour to a watermelon, which turn yellow when mature,” he said.

“They are about three centimetres in diameter.”

He said the weed was primarily dispersed through livestock or wildlife feeding on the mature fruit, which can contain 200-400 seeds each, and through birds dispersing seeds. There is no registered herbicide to control the weed, but any control of isolated plants should include the removal of fruit for collection and disposal.

Anyone who thinks they have seen the plant should contact Clarence Valley Council on 66430200.



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