Municipal Plant of the Month – Moth catcher: Araujia serifera. A vigorous, semi-woody, perennial creeper that can reach the top of tall trees. The stems contain a milky sap. Leaves are dark green and smooth above and pale green or whitish below with short, dense hairs. White, cream, or pale pink flowers appear from November to April. The fruit is large, green, and spongy and turns brown and woody and splits open when mature to release thousands of blackish seeds which are attached to fluffy parachutes and are carried away on the wind.
The plant and its sap can cause skin irritation.
Invasive status is Category 1b invader and habitat transformer as it smothers other plants and eventually kills them. It may not be planted or traded and seed dispersal should be avoided.
Control: Triclopyr is registered as a spot treatment. Backpack sprayers are a good tool for spot-treating small weed populations. This plant is easily uprooted when still small. The plants should be destroyed before they produce seeds.
References: www.invasives.org.za: www.sanbi.org