Pretty yellow flower hides the heart of natural born killer
SPRING flowers bring a burst of colour and vitality to this time of year but some of them are cold-blooded killers.
The very attractive Cats Claw Creeper (Dolichandra unguis-cati) is seen in the Bellinger Valley, coming into full bloom with its vibrant large bell-like yellow flowers reaching high in the canopy, and on or near a riparian strip.
But don't be taken in by its pretty face.
Cat's Claw Creeper is a nasty piece of work.
An aggressive woody vine native to tropical America, the Creeper climbs fully established trees, choking out light and weighing the tree down until it eventually kills it.
Bellingen Shire Mayor, Cr Mark Troy, said the plant is a menace and can cause severe environmental degradation.
"It poses a serious threat to the riparian areas of the Bellinger Valley," he said.
"It was introduced approximately 100 years ago into rural areas as a low maintenance ornamental creeper but the ramifications of this decision were largely unknown.
"After the splendour of flowers die back, long bean like seed pods with dozens of winged seeds are formed which can easily spread.
"In our backyards Cats Claw Creeper can smother sheds, stock shelters, fences and basically any non-living object.
"Cats Claw Creeper is a class three noxious weed in the Bellingen Shire and Council is currently working with landholders to control it.
"We're conducting inspections around the valley targeting prime growth areas including areas of high environmental value."
To help catch this killer, call the council's invasive plants officer on 6655 7300.