University of Adelaide research has found that the native vineCassytha pubescens, better known as snotty gobble, is able to kill gorse, blackberry and Scotch broom, while not damaging native shrubs.
“Parasitic plants attach to host plants via ‘suckers’, latching on and sucking out the water and nutrients so they can grow at the expense of the plants they infect,” says Robert Cirocco, recent PhD graduate in the University’s School of Biological Sciences.
“Cassytha is particularly successful, growing on pretty much anything, and very effective against several designated ‘Weeds of National Significance’ such as European gorse, blackberry and Scotch broom.
“These introduced weeds cost millions of dollars annually to eradicate from farmland, forestry, roadsides, national parks and other environmental areas. They have significant negative impacts on native vegetation and biodiversity and can increase bushfire risk. They are very hard to get rid of because they produce large amounts of seeds that may remain viable in the soil for decades.
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