New Zealand: South African plant Cape Tulip toxic to humans and livestock set to bloom

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Farmers and keen gardeners are being asked to keep an eye out for a poisonous pest plant that will bloom in June. Native to South Africa, Cape Tulip – which has distinctive salmon pink flowers with a yellow centre – is toxic to both humans and livestock.

It has been in Aotearoa since the 1940s and was recognised as a noxious plant in 1978, banned from sale, propagation and distribution.

Since then, the more than 500 sites infected with the flower have been whittled down to 29 that Biosecurity New Zealand was aware of. Ten of those sites were in Marlborough Sounds, and just recently three plants were found in a Canterbury garden.

Spokesperson John Sanson said cape tulips produce both corms, which can rapidly multiply and spread, and between 3000 and 6000 seeds per plant.


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