Pest plant - Boneseed

  • Fact sheet
  • August 2015
Nicole-Zeoli_boneseed-plant1
Boneseed amongst other native vegetation

Boneseed (Chrysanthemoides monilifera)is a perennial shrub that is not restricted by climate, and that tolerates most soil types and coastal conditions. It is a serious threat to native vegetation.

Description

  • erect perennial shrub to 2m, or much taller in sheltered sites, with a woody trunk
  • leaves are 3-8cm long, bright green and waxy, with irregular serrated edges
  • flowers are bright yellow and daisy-like
  • fruits are dry berries 6-8mm in diameter; they turn from green to black, then flake off to show a white inner coat
  • each fruit holds one seed which is bone-coloured and very hard.

Why is it a problem?

  • serious threat to native vegetation (rarely found in crops or pastures)
  • establishes in many native vegetation types (scrub, woodland and forest)
  • establishes readily on disturbed sites such as cleared, cultivated or burnt areas
  • invasive due to rapid growth, a large seed store in the soil, and the ability to regenerate after fire
  • dense stands drastically alter the habitat of native birds and animals.

Distribution

  • Eyre Peninsula – isolated patchy populations
  • Northern pastoral – one record in Flinders Ranges
  • Northern agricultural districts and Yorke Peninsula – small, isolated infestations
  • Murray Mallee – isolated plants along the Murray River
  • South East – isolated infestations on roadsides, reserves and some native vegetation
  • Central region – widespread in the Adelaide hills.

Ecology

  • not restricted by climate and will tolerate most soil types and coastal conditions
  • reproduces by seed, which germinates at any time of year but mainly in autumn
  • grows rapidly over winter and some plants flower in their first year
  • flowers are formed in late winter and spring and the ripe seeds are shed in summer
  • the hard seed coat allows seed to remain dormant in the soil for many years
  • a fire will stimulate all the seed to germinate at once.

How it spreads

  • birds eat the fruit of boneseed and transport it to other locations
  • rabbits, foxes, and cattle also eat the fruit and spread the seeds in their droppings
  • contaminated soil and water can also carry seeds.

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