It might look pretty, but its bright, yellow flowers hide something quite sinister. Cassia, or Senna, is a shrub currently flowering throughout local backyards, reserves and roadsides. And while it might look harmless, it is a weed that poses a threat and potential harm to our native plants and animals.
Council’s Natural Resource Co-ordinator Courtney Fink-Downes says Cassia produces thousands of seeds in long bean-like pods every autumn.
“The seeds spread easily and can stay viable in the soil for up to five years, germinating profusely after fire or disturbance,” she said. “Once established, Cassia can be quite invasive in the understoreys of coastal forests, woodlands and even backyards.
“The Cassia’s flowers, seeds and spindly branches are of little value to native birds and animals so they will tend to move away from areas overrun with Cassia.”
Courtney said when it came to controlling Cassia time was of the essence – and the time was now.
“Now is the perfect time to remove this aggressive plant from your backyard. If they are caught while flowering the seed is prevented from maturing and spreading,” she said. “Mature plants are cut at the base of their trunks and poisoned while smaller plants are pulled out by hand. The entire root system needs to either be removed or poisoned to keep the Cassia from re-sprouting.”
You can bring Cassia from your garden along to Council’s plant swap in Batemans Bay on Sunday and exchange it for free, native bird-friendly plants.
“Bringing it and any other environmental weeds from your garden along to our plant swap is a great way to get rid of weeds and put a beautiful bird-attracting native in their place,” Courtney said. “The plant swap stall will be held at Corrigans Beach Market this Sunday, March 18, 8am-1pm, weather permitting.”
For more information about plants considered weeds in Eurobodalla, including Council’s weed finder database, visit www.esc.nsw.gov.au and search “south coast weeds” or phone Council’s Landcare Officer Emma Patyus on 4474 7300.