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Kennedia rubicunda, commonly known as dusky coral pea vine comes from Eastern Australia. It grows quickly and can suppress native species. It's under regular DOC surveillance in Northland to prevent it from establishing.

Date:  23 February 2010

Keen Northland gardeners and bush walkers are being asked to watch out for a rampant Aussie that smothers Kiwi natives.

Close up of Kennedia rubicunda or dusky coral pea vine. Click image to view larger (JPG, 104K).
Kennedia rubicunda or dusky coral pea
vine (view larger, JPG 104K

Kennedia rubicunda is an ornamental vine originally from Eastern Australia and is commonly known as the dusky coral pea vine. It has burnt-orange flowers, hairy pods 50-100 mm long, and grows so quickly that its shading and smothering habits suppress the growth of native species. If left unchecked it will replace native species.

“So far it has not yet established in the region,” says Heather Taylor, the Department of Conservation’s Bay of Islands Area office weed control ranger, “but the vine is under regular surveillance. It is much better to get rid of a plant before it becomes an infestation, so we ask people to look for it, and call us if they see it.”

DOC and Conservation Corps students from Northland Polytechnic recently battled a patch of the smothering vine in Kerikeri, for six hours, filling three woolsacks with pods, flowers and vine, some sections as thick as 70mm.

The beautiful but damaging vine grows extremely quickly, says Heather. “It spreads by seeds hitching a ride with birds, on water, and also by cuttings or pieces which break off. Any portion of vine which touches the ground will grow roots, making it a difficult plant to control.”

DOC weed control rangers in all areas of Northland are responsible for controlling dusky coral pea on private land - where permission is granted by the landowner – as well as conservation estate. All new infestations are entered into a data base which is updated regularly.

Report sightings of Kennedia rubicunda to Heather Taylor at DOC on +64 9 407 0300.

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