Chrysanthemoides monilifera (weed)

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Chrysanthemoides monilifera (click on image to enlarge it)
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Chrysanthemoides monilifera (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Tim Parkinson
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Chrysanthemoides monilifera (weed) (L.) T. Non. - (bitou bush and boneseed)

The species is a perennial bushy weed which has spread to Australia from Southern Africa. The weed competes with other plants through the release of allelochemicals. In its native southern Africa, several subspecies have been described. Two of them have invaded Australia, rotundata (bitou bush) and monilifera (boneseed). Bitou bush has been recorded in Australia since 1852 (around Sydney) and by the year 2000, about 80% of the coastline of NSW was invaded by the weed. However, it has been also regarded by some as useful for restoring sand dunes.

The plant grows to a height of about 2 m, is densely branched, with a shallow root system and many flower heads which produce around 3½ thousand hard and bone-coloured seeds per year per adult plant. Although vegetative reproduction can occur, dispersal by seeds appears to be more important.

Vernacular names
• English: bitou bush
Higgin’s curse
daisy bush

In Australia a major classical biological control program started in the 1980s, during which 6 phytophagous insect species were introduced. Of these 4 became established, 2 moths, 1 beetle and 1 fruit fly.

For details see the respective page in Wikipedia.