Environmental issues

Pests and weeds

Bitou bush and boneseed

There are two subspecies of Chrysanthemoides monilifera: bitou bush (subsp. rotundata) and boneseed (subsp. monilifera).

Bitou bush is an introduced plant in NSW. It was planted widely along the NSW coast between 1946 and 1968 to reduce dune erosion, but spread rapidly. It is found along 46% of the state's coastline. The north coast, in particular, is heavily infested. In some cases, the weed has spread over 10 kilometres inland. Bitou bush is also listed as 'noxious' in all coastal districts.

Native to South Africa, bitou bush invades native coastal heathlands, grasslands, woodlands and forests. It grows quickly and forms dense stands, replacing native plants and destroying the habitat of native animals. Numerous threatened species and plant communities have been affected.

Boneseed, a closely related species to bitou bush, is also a weed in NSW and is native to South Africa. However, it is only established in a small number of areas, including Sydney and the Hunter regions. See the differences between the two subspecies of Chrysanthemoides monilifera. Boneseed is a 'noxious' weed in NSW.

Invasion of native plant communities by bitou bush and boneseed - key threatening process listing
The NSW Scientific Committee has declared bitou bush and boneseed to be a 'key threatening process' (KTP) in NSW. See the reasons for making this declaration.

Bitou bush and boneseed threat abatement plan
A Threat Abatement Plan (TAP) has been prepared under the Threatened Species Comservation Act 1995 in response to the KTP listing. The TAP aims to reduce, abate or ameliorate the threat posed by bitou bush and boneseed to threatened species, populations and ecological communities and those species which may become threatened as a result of invasion by the weeds.

Bitou bush and boneseed TAP Review
A five-year review of the TAP has been completed. It evaulated the implementation of the TAP against the eight broad objectives. When implementing the TAP or other widespread weeds threat abatement strategies such as the Biodiversity Priorities for Widespread Weeds (BPWW), the TAP review should be consulted.

National bitou bush and boneseed program
In 2000, bitou bush and boneseed were collectively listed as a Weed of National Significance (WoNS). The National Strategic Plan for Bitou Bush and Boneseed (2012-2017) provides direction for national management of these weeds. The bitou bush and boneseed WoNS website has a large array of resources which are useful when tackling these serious environmental weeds.

TAP implementation resources
A range of best practice management guides and implementation tools have been produced, including:

  • aerial spraying guidelines
  • a boneseed management manual
  • a bitou bush management manual
  • a monitoring manual to monitor effectiveness of weed control
  • an identification guide to biodiversity at risk from bitou bush.
Page last updated: 29 July 2013