Time to tackle toxic Cape tulip weed on KI

As we approach the best time of year to treat the declared weed, Cape tulip, the KI Natural Resources Management (NRM) Board is asking Islanders to be vigilant and to help stop the spread of the toxic plant.

Cape tulip was introduced to Australia 150 years ago as a garden plant, but it is now a perennial weed on Kangaroo Island and toxic to both sheep and cattle.

Easily recognised by its strap-like leaf and orange flowers, when they bloom in early spring, Cape tulip can be less obvious at this time of the year when its bright green strappy leaves first emerge.

Easily recognised by its strap-like leaf and orange flowers, when they bloom in early spring, Cape tulip can be less obvious at this time of the year when its bright green strappy leaves first emerge.

Easily recognised by its strap-like leaf and orange flowers, when they bloom in early spring, Cape tulip can be less obvious at this time of the year when its bright green strappy leaves first emerge.

This weed invades agricultural lands and open areas of native vegetation (pictured).

Control of Cape tulip, also known as one-leaf Cape tulip, can be difficult because the plant can reproduce both by seed and corms (underground plant stems), which can remain dormant throughout a season.

Cape tulip is a declared weed under the NRM Act which means that there is an obligation on landowners to control the weed on their land. This declaration also prohibits sale of Cape tulip plants or any contaminated goods or produce.

Natural Resources Kangaroo Island (NRKI) Animal and Plant Control Officer Jason Walter said it is important to treat the weed before it begins to reproduce.

"Given the life-cycle of the Cape tulip weed and its reproduction, it is crucial to treat the weed between the end of June and the start of September, before the weed starts to flower and seed," Mr Walter said.

"As the seed can be spread by wind and water, as well as in produce, the transport along a public road of Cape tulip plants, or any material or equipment containing the plants, is prohibited under the NRM Act."

"Cape tulip corms and seed can be spread in contaminated soil or mud by farm machinery or stock and can even be transported in hay cut from infested paddocks."

"Larger infestations of the weed are best treated with herbicide applied through a weed wiper or a boom sprayer, while individual plants can be hand-wiped or spot sprayed with herbicide, or physically dug out."

NRM Board member Jenny Stanton says that although stock will try to avoid the plant it is still a risk.

"All parts of the Cape Tulip plant are toxic to both sheep and cattle and although stock will generally avoid feeding on established plants it can still be ingested, particularly by cattle, and spread in manure." Said Ms Stanton

"The selective grazing by stock can also result in increased paddock cover of Cape tulip, aiding the spreading of the weed."

"NRKI is available to help provide advice to farmers on the best course of action, it also has weed wipers and other equipment for hire to treat the weed."

A letter offering more information to land holders will be distributed in the coming week in cooperation with Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) and Agriculture KI (AgKI).

For further information on treating and managing One-leaf Cape Tulip and other declared weeds, please visit the NRKI website at www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/kangarooisland/plants-and-animals/pest-plants , or contact Jason Walter on 0418 708 557 or email Jason.Walter@sa.gov.au

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