Beautiful But Dangerous More Invasive Alien Plants of Durban

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Beautiful But Dangerous

More Invasive Alien Plants of Durban

with some Indigenous Alternatives

Beautiful But Dangerous

More Invasive Alien Plants of Durban

and the Eastern, Sub-tropical Region of South Africa

with some Indigenous Alternatives

Durban Unicity

The publication of this poster was made possible 

by generous funding from the 

Lomas Wildlife Protection Trust.

Control and Eradication

Control of alien plants in a garden situation is

probably best achieved by mechanical means.

Tackle light infestations first and then denser

infestations.  Small plants may be pulled out at

the roots especially when the soil is moist.

Larger plants may need to be dug out at the

roots.  The key to success is to tackle the job in

a planned way and to diligently follow up to

remove seedlings and regrowth.

For more serious problems herbicides may be

used. It is recommended that professional

advice is sought before using herbicides.


Category 1

Category 3

Potential Problems


New Weed & Invader Plant Legislation

By the year 2000, 10 million hectares of land in South

Africa had been invaded by alien plants.  Alien plants

have numerous impacts:


They can increase flood damage.


They compete with agricultural crops.


They displace indigenous plants and animals.


They increase the loss of water from catchments.


They increase the severity of fires.


They expand the range of disease-causing organisms.

Despite raising almost R 1 billion to date through

national government programmes and working at

unprecedented levels, we are not reducing the extent

of the invasion.  In recognising the threats posed by

invasive plants, the National Department of Agri-

culture has drafted regulations and listed weeds and

alien invader plants under the Conservation of Agri-

cultural Resources Act.

The list contains about 200 plants grouped into  three


CATEGORY 1:  Weeds which may not be grown and

must be controlled.

CATEGORY 2:  Invader plants with commercial or

utility value, which may only be grown with a  per-

mit under controlled circumstances.

CATEGORY 3:  Invader plants, which have amenity

value and which may be grown, but not planted,

propagated, imported or traded.  You may not

grow Category 3 plants within 30 metres of water-

courses and the Department may instruct you to

control Category 3 plants in other areas.

Prevention of alien plant invasions is far

cheaper than control or eradication.  This

poster profiles plants which are grown and

sold by nurseries and used by landscapers

and gardeners. Unlike most other exotic

species, these plants have escaped formally

planted areas and are appearing to varying

degrees in natural ecosystems. 

Some of the plants on this poster have not

been placed in a category by the

Department of Agriculture and are thus

not covered by the new legislation.

Currently they are considered regional

problems and/or their weed potential is yet

to be established.

The plants on this poster were selected

using these criteria:


They have escaped formally planted

areas in Durban and are likely to do so

in other sub-tropical parts of South



They are potential transformers of natur-

al habitats.


They are ‘emerging’ problem species.

Another poster in the series describes the

most aggressive weed and invader plants in

the region.

This Poster’s Objective

Useful Contacts

For advice and planning of control work:

Your local District Conservation Officer, KZN Wildlife.

Tel:  031-764 3515.  E-mail: 

The Ecological Advice Division, KZN Wildlife,

Pietermartizburg.  Tel:  033-845 1999.

The Plant Protection Research Institute, Cedara runs a short

course on alien plant control for land managers.  

Tel:  033-355 9416 or 033-355 9413.  

E-mail: ntjg@natal1

Alien Buster Campaign, Toll-free line: 0800 005 376.

For Law Enforcement:

National Department of Agriculture, Directorate:  Agricultural

Land and Resource Management, Box 345, Pietermaritzburg,


Tel: 033-345 3515 or 033-345 3557.

For information about the use of herbicides contact:

Your local supplier of agro-chemicals (see Weed Control

Services in the Yellow Pages).

To find indigenous plants and professional contractors

who remove alien plants:

The Botanical Society - KZN Coastal Branch.  

Fax:  031-201 9958.  E-mail:

The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA)

- KZN Region. 

Tel:  031-201 3126. E-mail:

Natural Areas Section, Durban Parks Department.  

Tel:  031-312 4466.  E-mail:

or visit these web sites:

Useful References

Botha, C. and Botha, J.  Bring Nature Back to Your Garden.

A WESSA Handbook with a chapter on alien weeds and lots of

suggestions for indigenous alternatives.

Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act, 1983 (Act

No. 43 of 1983)

Guiding Principles for the Landscaping of the Durban

Inner City and KwaZulu-Natal Coastal Belt. A Durban

Metro publication available from the cashier at the City Engineers

Building, 166 Old Fort Road, Durban.

Henderson, L.  In press (due early 2001). The Complete

Guide to Declared Weeds and Alien Plant Invaders in

South Africa. Plant Protection Research Institute Handbook.

Agricultural Research Council.

Moore, J.  Eradicating Invading Alien Plants in KwaZulu-

Natal. This is a cheap and useful publication available from

WESSA at 100 Brand Rd, Glenwood, Durban.

Vermuelen, et al. A Guide to the Use of Herbicides.

Available from Agricultural Information, Private Bag X 144,

Pretoria, 0001.


The production of this resource was a joint effort

between the Botanical Society of SA, the Durban Metro

Environmental Management Branch, the Durban Parks

Department and the Wildlife and Environment Society of


With additional assistance from:

Lesley Henderson of the Plant Protection Research 

Institute, Agricultural Research Council.

Geoff Nichols and Gareth Chittenden who supplied the


Copies of this poster are available from:

Durban Metro Environmental Management Branch,   

Development and Planning Building, 166 Old Fort Rd, Durban

Tel: 031-300 2517.

Wildlife and Environment Society of SA, 100 Brand Rd., 

Glenwood, Durban.  Tel: 031-201 3126.

Botanical Society of SA.  Fax: 031-201 9958.

Ageratina adenophora  

Crofton Weed

Origin:  Central America

Indigenous alternatives:

Barleria obtusa Bush Violet

Barleria saxatalis Small Blue Barleria

Barleria albostellata 

Peristrophe cernua False Buckwheat

Anredera cordifolia

Madeira Vine

Origin:  South America

Indigenous alternatives:

Cissus rotundifolia Bushveld Grape

Rhoicissus tomentosa Common Forest Grape

Tinospora caffra Orange Grape Creeper

Albizia procera 

False Lebbeck 

Origin:  Tropical Asia

Indigenous alternatives:

Acacia xanthophloea Fever Tree

Albizia adianthifolia Flat-crown

Albizia versicolor Large-leaved False-thorn

Ficus bubu Swazi Fig

Ardisia crenata

Coral Bush

Origin:  South-east Asia

Indigenous alternatives:

Erythroxylum delagoense 

Small-leaved Coco Tree 

Mitriostigma axillare

Small False Loquat

Pavetta revoluta 

Dune Bride’s Bush

Psychotria capensis 

Black Bird-berry

Bryophyllum delagoense

Chandelier Plant

(= Kalanchoe tubiflora, Bryophyllum 

tubiflorum, Kalanchoe delagoensis)

Origin:  Madagascar

Indigenous alternatives:

Cotyledon orbiculata Pig’s Ears

Kalanchoe crenata 

Yellow Hairy Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe paniculata 

Large Orange Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe thyrsiflora White Lady

Araujia sericifera

Moth Catcher

Origin:  South America

Indigenous alternatives:

Adenia gummifera

Mondia whitei White’s Ginger

Petopentia natalensis Propeller Vine

Tacazzea apiculata Crawcraw Vine

Cestrum aurantiacum 

Yellow or Orange Cestrum, and

Cestrum elegans Crimson Cestrum

Origin: C. aurantiacum - Guatemala  

C. elegans - Mexico

Canna indica

Wild Canna or Indian Shot

(not hybrid cultivars)

Origin:  Central and South America,  

and West Indies

(C. X generalis or some Canna hybrids

have also escaped from formal landscapes)

Indigenous alternatives:

Crocosmia aurea Falling Stars

Gladiolus dalenii African Gladiolus

Kniphofia spp.  Red Hot Pokers

Zantedeschia aethiopica White Arum Lily

Cinnamomum camphora

Camphor Tree

Origin:  China, Taiwan and Japan

Indigenous alternatives:

Apodytes dimidiata 

White Pear

Cryptocarya latifolia 

Broad-leaved Quince

Cryptocarya woodii 

Cape Quince

Above: C. X generalis

Right: C. indica

C. parqui Chinese Cestrum and C. laeviga-

tum Inkberry are also Category 1 plants.

Indigenous alternatives:

Bauhinia tomentosa Bush Neat’s Foot

Burchellia bubalina Wild Pomegranate

Peddiea africana Poison Olive

Polygala myrtifolia September Bush

Hedychium coccineum

Red Ginger Lily, 


Hedychium gardnerianum

Kahili Ginger Lily

Origin:  Himalayas

Indigenous alternatives:

Crinum moorei Moore’s Lily

Dracaena aletriformis 

Large-leaved Dragon Tree

Sansevieria metallica Giant Sansevieria

Siphonochilus aethiopicus Wild Ginger 

Cortaderia selloana

Pampas Grass 

(excluding sterile cultivars)

Origin:  South America

Cortaderia jubata Pampas Grass is a Category 1 plant,

which occurs in Durban.

Indigenous alternatives:

Cymbopogon spp.  Turpentine Grasses

Mariscus solidus

Miscanthus capensis East-coast Broom Grass

Eugenia uniflora

Cherry Hedge or 

Surinam Cherry

Origin:  Brazil and Guyana

Indigenous alternatives:

Cryptocarya wylei Red Quince

Eugenia natalitia Common Forest Myrtle

Syzygium pondoense Pondo Waterwood

Teclea gerrardii Zulu Cherry-orange


H. gardnerianum seed

Hedychium coronarium 

White Ginger Lily, 


Hedychium flavescens 

Yellow Ginger Lily

Origin: H. coronarium - India to Indonesia 

H. flavescens - Himalayas

Indigenous alternatives:

Crinum moorei Moore’s Lily

Dracaena aletriformis 

Large-leaved Dragon Tree

Plectranthus ecklonii Large Spur-flower Bush

Siphonochilus aethiopicus Wild Ginger 

Above: H. flavescens

Right: H. coronarium

Ipomoea alba



Ipomoea indica

Morning Glory

Origin:  l. alba - Tropical America

I. indica - West Indies?

Indigenous alternatives:

Ipomoea albivenia Climbing Kapok

Ipomoea ficifolia Fig-leaved Ipomoea

Ipomoea mauritiana 

Large Forest Ipomoea

Mondia whitei White’s Ginger

Left: I. alba

Below: I. indica

Macfadyena unguis-cati

Cat's Claw Creeper

Origin:  Mexico to Argentina

Indigenous alternatives:

Senecio tamoides 

Canary Creeper

Senecio brachypodus

Senecio pleistocephalus

Strophanthus spp. 

Poison Ropes

Passiflora suberosa

Indigo Berry

Origin:  South America

Passiflora subpeltata - Granadina, which

occurs naturally from Central Mexico to

Colombia and Venezuela, is also a 

Category 1 plant.

Indigenous alternatives:

Adenia gummifera 

Cissus fragilis Forest Grape Vine

Jasminum multipartitum Starry Wild Jasmine

Jasminum angulare Wild Jasmine

Rhus succedanea 

(= Toxicodendron succedaneum)

Wax Tree

Origin:  Japan to India

Indigenous alternatives:

Bridelia micrantha Mitzeerie

Combretum kraussii

Forest Bushwillow 

Galpinia transvaalica

Wild Pride-of-India

Protorhus longifolia Red Beech

Pennisetum setaceum 

Fountain Grass

Origin:  North Africa

Pennisetum villosum Feathertop (excluding the

sterile cultivar ‘Rubrum’) is also a Category 1

plant, which occurs in Durban.

Indigenous alternatives:

Aristida junciformis Gongoni Three-awn

Imperata cylindrica Cottonwool Grass

Setaria megaphylla 

Broad-leaved Bristle Grass

Setaria sphacelata Golden Bristle Grass

Above: P. suberosa

Above right: P. suberosa

Right: P. subpeltata fruits

Rivina humilis



Rouge Plant 



Origin:  USA

Indigenous alternatives:

Freesia laxa Small Red Iris

Justicia betonica Paper Plume

Justicia capensis Money Plant

Phaulopsis imbricata

Plectranthus zuluensis 

Zulu Spur-flower

Tecoma stans 

Yellow Bells

Origin:  Tropical America

Indigenous alternatives:

Ochna natalitia Natal Plane

Peltophorum africanum 

Weeping Wattle

Pittosporum viridifolium


Thespesia acutiloba 

Wild Tulip Tree

Solanum seaforthianum

Small Potato Creeper

Origin:  Tropical America

Indigenous alternatives:

Asparagus falcatus

Large Forest Asparagus 

Cissus rotundifolia Bushveld Grape

Solanum geniculatum Creeping Potato

Tinospora caffra Orange Grape Creeper

Thevetia peruviana

Yellow Oleander

Origin:  Mexico and West Indies

Indigenous alternatives:

Ochna natalitia Natal Plane

Peltophorum africanum 

Weeping Wattle

Thespesia acutiloba 

Wild Tulip Tree

Triplaris americana

Ant Tree

Origin:  South Panama to 

South-east Brazil 

Indigenous alternatives:

Barringtonia racemosa 

Powder-puff  Tree

Erythrina lysistemon 

Common Coral Tree

Croton sylvaticus

Forest Fever-berry

Thelechitonia trilobata



Singapore Daisy

Origin:  Tropical America

Indigenous alternatives:

Arctotheca calendula Cape Weed

Gazania rigens Trailing Daisy

Othonna carnosa

Bulbine frutescens Spreading Bulbine

Orange variety.

Jacaranda mimosifolia 


(excluding sterile cultivar 'Alba')

Origin:  North-west Argentina

Indigenous alternatives: 

Calodendrum capense 

Cape Chestnut

Millettia grandis Umzimbeet

Peltophorum aficanum 

Weeping Wattle

Schotia brachypetala 

Weeping Boer-bean

Ligustrum lucidum 

Chinese Wax-leaved


Origin:  Korea and China

Indigenous alternatives:

Apodytes dimidiata White Pear

Chionanthus peglerae 

White Pock Ironwood

Olea woodiana Forest Olive 

Protorhus longifolia Red Beech

Bauhinia variegata 

Pink Camel's Foot 


Orchid Tree


Bauhinia variegata var. candida 

White Camel’s Foot

Origin:  East Asia

Bauhinia purpurea Butterfly Orchid Tree,

which is also in Category 3,  is very similar. 

Indigenous alternatives:

Afzelia quanzensis Pod Mahogany

Bauhinia galpinii Pride-of-De Kaap

Calodendrum capense Cape Chestnut

Schotia brachypetala  Weeping Boer-bean

Left:  var. candida

Lilium formosanum 

St Joseph's Lily

Origin:  Taiwan

Indigenous alternatives:

Crinum bulbispermum 

Orange River Lily

Crinum macowanii River Lily 

Crinum moorei Moore’s Crinum

Hibiscus calyphyllus 

Large Yellow Wild Hibiscus

Plectranthus comosus 

Woolly Plectranthus

(P. barbatus has been misapplied to this species)

Origin:  India

Indigenous alternatives:

Leonotis intermedia Broad-leaved Leonotis

Plectranthus ecklonii Large Spur-flower Bush

Pycnostachys reticulata Slender Pycnostachys 

Tetradenia riparia Iboza

Nephrolepis exaltata 

Sword Fern 

(excl. cultivars)

Origin:  North and Central America 

and West Indies

Indigenous alternatives:

Microsorium scolopendrium 

Creeping Dune Fern

Nephrolepis biserrata Giant Forest Fern

Rumohra adiantiformis Leather Fern 

Stenochlaena tenuifolia

Pontederia cordata 

Pickerel Weed

Origin:  Brazil and Argentina

Indigenous alternatives:

Cyperus textilis Tall Star Sedge

Hygrophila auriculata 

Elephant’s Dilemma

Zantedeschia aethiopica 

White Arum Lily

Zantedeschia albomaculata 

Spotted-leaved Arum

Senna pendula

Rambling Cassia

Origin:  South America

Senna bicapsularis Rambling Cassia has also

escaped formal landscapes.

Indigenous alternatives:

Calpurnia aurea Natal Laburnum 

Crotalaria capensis Cape Rattle Pod

Phyllanthus reticulatus Potato Bush 

Senna petersiana Monkey Pod

Psidium cattleianum 

Strawberry or 

Cherry Guava

(= Psidium littorale var. longipes)

Origin:  Brazil

Indigenous alternatives:

Dombeya rotundifolia 

Common Wild Pear

Eugenia natalitia 

Common Forest Myrtle

Heteropyxis natalensis 

Lavender Bush

Aristolochia elegans 



Origin:  Brazil

Indigenous alternatives:

Dioscorea cotinifolia 

Wild Yam

Dioscorea sylvatica 

Forest Elephant’s Foot

Ipomoea ficifolia

Fig-leaved Ipomoea

Vernonia angulifolia 

Trailing Vernonia

Syzygium cuminii


Origin:  Indo-Malaysia

Syzygium jambos Rose Apple,

which is in Category 3, has also

escaped formal landscapes in


Indigenous alternatives:

Bridelia micrantha Mitzeerie

Syzygium cordatum Umdoni

Syzygium guineense 

Water Pear

Callisia repens 

Dwarf-striped Inch Plant

Origin:  Southern Mexico

Indigenous alternatives:

Crassula expansa 

Fragile Crassula

Crassula multicava 

Fairy Crassula

Crassula sarmentosa

Plectranthus strigosus 

Small Money Plant

Duranta erecta 


Origin:  USA to Brazil

Indigenous alternatives:

Dovyalis caffra Kei Apple

Dovyalis longispina Natal Apricot

Grewia occidentalis Cross-berry

Plumbago auriculata Plumbago

Mimosa pudica 

Sensitive Plant

Origin:  Tropical, North and 

South America

Mimosa pigra Giant Sensitive Plant, which is in

Category 3, has escaped formal landscapes

elsewhere in South Africa.

Indigenous alternatives:

Indigofera spicata Indigo 

Indigofera micrantha Forest Indigo

Tephrosia capensis Small Pink Tephrosia

Tephrosia grandiflora 

Large Pink Tephrosia

Coreopsis lanceolata 


Origin:  Eastern USA

Indigenous alternatives:

Berkheya speciosa

Gazania krebsiana Bush Gazania

Gazania rigens Trailing Gazania

Haplocarpha scaposa 

False Gerbera

Right: variegated form

Mirabilis jalapa 

Four O’clock

Origin:  Tropical America

Indigenous alternatives:

Barleria delagoensis

Dissotis canescens 

Pink Wild Tibouchina

Orthosiphon labiatus Shell Bush

Thunbergia natalensis 

Natal Blue Bell

Senna occidentalis 

Stinking Weed or Wild


Origin:  Tropical America?

Senna septemtrionalis and Senna

hirsuta have also escaped formal 

landscapes in Durban.

Indigenous alternatives:

Calpurnia aurea Natal Laburnum

Hypericum revolutum Curry Bush

Ochna serrulata Small-leaved Plane 

Psychotria capensis Black Bird-berry

Schefflera actinophylla 

Queensland Umbrella Tree

(= Brassaia actinophylla)

and Schefflera arboricola Hawaiian Elf

Origin:  S. actinophylla New Guinea and

Tropical Australia and S. arboricola Taiwan

Indigenous alternatives:

Cussonia nicholsonii 

Natal Coast Cabbage Tree

Cussonia sphaerocephala 

Natal Forest Cabbage Tree

Cussonia spicata Common Cabbage Tree

Cussonia zuluensis Zulu Cabbage Tree

Above: S. actinophylla

Left: S. arboricola 

variegated form


S. arboricola

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