Australia is famous for its wide variety of unique and beautiful flora and fauna; it is arguably one of Australia’s most valuable and beloved assets and the country takes great pride in protecting its native animals and plants that make the country synonymous with nature and conservation. However, over the year’s humans have, by accident or by design, introduced species of animals and plants that are harmful due to their destructive growth, nutrient leeching properties or aggressive population expansion. And believe it or not your garden could be harboring trees that could potentially be harming Australia’s beautiful native wildlife. So let’s take a look at some of the more common types of invasive tree:
A tree species that is native to South East Asia, Sweet Acacia is a catchall term for a family of shrubs and trees that has become a serious problem in Northern New South Wales and is also known as “Ellington’s Curse, growing at an exponential rate and not only is responsible for choking the range of native plants causing them to die off, it also quickly crowds and spoils grazing lands that are vital for Australia’s food production and economy. The seeds are generally spread by human activity and this is the reason that the tree has become so prevalent in rural areas.
Pond Apple tree
Also known as “Alligator apple trees” kind of fruit tree originating from the Caribbean, The USA, and Central and South America, Alligator Apples might not sound all bad ostensibly, with its tasty and plentiful fruit that has been known to taste as fresh honeydew melon has recently been found to have anti-cancerous properties. It was first introduced as grafting stock for the highly profitable Custard Apple crop and has since become a huge pest in the Queensland region of Australia, growing along riverbanks and estuaries; it chokes the surrounding banks and prevents any other plants from growing. Such a problem is this tree that the Australian government has introduced plans to eradicate the tree, however, with the tree being a prime source of food for the critically endangered southern Cassowary and is subsequently spread by the bird’s consumption; this is making these plans a slow and carefully considered process.
Tree of Heaven
Originating in China, this tree is best known for its hideous smell and more importantly, its damaging effects on surrounding plants due to its release of a herbicidal toxin designed by nature to remove it natural competitors, coupled with its highly aggressive growth rate has caused this plant to be declared a “priority environmental weed” by the governments of New South Wales and Victoria. This tree is directly threatening the survival of an extremely rare form of native Australian tree called obcordate-leafed Nigeria (Zieria obcordate) and if not managed effectively could see several core growth sites of this tree overrun with these stinky menaces.