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Weed hit list released by minister

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 19/06/2016

Vinca minor (periwinkle or creeping myrtle) is a weed in NZ © AP Vinca minor (periwinkle or creeping myrtle) is a weed in NZ Darwin's barberry and Japanese honeysuckle are in and lantana and periwinkle are out of the "dirty dozen" of weeds the government highlights as the biggest environmental troublemakers.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry announced the latest list of plants as part of the ongoing so-called war on weeds.

Launched last year, the war on weeds is a concerted effort to raise the profile of invasive plant species damaging New Zealand.

The first dirty dozen declared last spring were lantana, woolly nightshade, buddleia, wild ginger, English ivy, wandering willie, periwinkle, climbing asparagus, old man's beard, moth plant, banana passionfruit and spartina.

The new list is a baker's dozen with wilding conifers declared as enemy No.1. They cover about 1.8 million hectares of land and are advancing at a rate of about 5 per cent a year.

They transform entire landscapes, ruin native ecosystems and take over productive land indiscriminately, Ms Barry said.

Darwin's barberry is an invasive plant of particular concern in the lower South Island.

Japanese honeysuckle is a popular garden plant, but one which forms dense masses which smother natives.

New Zealand has about 2500 species of native plants, but ten times as many introduced exotic plants.

These invasive weeds devastate natural habitats in the same way that rats, stoats and possums decimate native birds, plants and animals.

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