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Common name: Houttuynia; Chameleon plant; Ground ivy
Botanical name: Houttuynia cordata
Management category: Advisory

Originally from Asia. Introduced as an ornamental garden plant but not yet naturalised in New Zealand.

Why is it a pest?

Rapid growth rate with creeping rhizomes and produces seed without pollination.

Where is it found?

  • Only found in gardens.
  • Grows best in sheltered locations around shallow water or moist loamy soils such as wetlands or freshwater margins.
  • Spread by seed, stems fragments (dumped vegetation) and vegetatively by creeping stems and rhizomes.
  • Has a peppery scent when crushed.
  • Not common in the Bay of Plenty.

What does it look like?

  • Dense, deciduous ground cover, which can grow up to 1m tall.
  • Heart shaped leaves with peppery scent when crushed.
  • Leaves are variegated cream, green, bronze, and scarlet.
  • Small flower-head spike with minute white flowers from (December to February).
  • Dies back to rootstock over winter.

What are the rules?


The Bay of Plenty Regional Council does not enforce the control of advisory species. It is landowner/occupier responsibility to manage these pests. Council may provide advice on how to manage or control these species if required.

How do you get rid of it?


  1. Weedmat for 3-12 months.
  2. Dig out, removing all plant material.
  3. Foliage spray (spring – autumn).
  4. Weed wipe (spring – autumn).


CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide, PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and directions for the purchase, use and storage of the product, are followed and adhered to.

Read more on pest control advice, information and regulations