Cape honey flower
|Botanical Name||Melianthus major|
IdentificationPerennial shrub, grows 2 m high with stout, soft-wooded, hollow stems and running roots. Leaves frond-like up to 1m long. Flowers tall spikes, foul smelling, dark reddish brown, July - April.
HabitatsSheltered coastal areas, consolidated sand dunes, inter-tidal flats, lowland forest (especially disturbed lowland forest), lowland steeplands, shrubland (open), shrubland margins, coastal river flats and estuary margins, coastal areas, cliffs and inshore islands, roadsides, wastelands, poorly farmed pasture.
Impact to Biota and EcosystemsForms dense cover 2-3 m tall in open conditions, impedes regeneration in 50% canopy cover. Has been seen to compete with natural understorey plants and seedlings under tall manuka/kanuka forest canopy. Is thought to have the potential to invade and dominate bluff associations and grazed or open canopy gaps of steeplands. Large leaves create a heavy shading effect.
Dispersal Routes, Vectors, Infestation SourcesInfestation source was originally domestic gardens i.e. dumping of garden waste. Seeds spread throughout estuaries and waterways to bulking-up sites around the margins of harbours etc. (in some places). Beginning to infest forest margins (Whangaroa area). Seed dispersal distance only moderate. Possibly float on spring tides and down streams etc.
|Disposal||May be left to rot, or can be mulched or composted.|
Dig out smaller infestations. Spray larger infestations with the appropriate herbicide.