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Himalayan Blackberry: Rubus armeniacus.

Common Weeds of New Zealand
Introduced and Invasive Species

      The word "weed" is not a botanical term that applies to any specific type of plants, but rather it is a cultural bias that can be applied to any plant that grows where it is not wanted. Weeds can be plants that were intentionally introduced, but escaped cultivation to grow wild. Or they can be unwanted plants that were accidentally introduced with other seeds or merely hitch-hiked a ride on clothes, livestock, or other baggage. Some weeds are rather useless from a human perspective, while others have wonderful edible, medicinal, or utilitatarian properties. Most weeds integrate well with other plants in a new ecosystem, but some species become invasive, crowding out native plants. New Zealand has it all.

Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification       Scrolling down the page, for example, crocosmia is native to Africa, but widely planted as an ornamental. It has escaped cultivation to grow wild along the Pacific Coast of North America as well as coastal areas of New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Lodgepole pines (Pinus contorta) are native to my home state of Montana, but they have been grown for timber in New Zealand, and they are often considered an invasive species, crowding out native New Zealand trees. The Himalayan blackberry (Rubus armeniacus) shown here is one of my favorite wild edibles, but the prickly brambles grow into impenetrable thickets along the Pacific Coast of the United States, and they were prolific all around New Zealand. Scroll down the page to see some of the introduced weeds that are common around New Zealand. Any of these plants, and most of the weeds in New Zealand, are easy to identify with my book Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification.

      Please send me an e-mail to report mistakes or to inquire about purchasing high resolution photos of these plants.

Botanizing New Zealand
1. Intro and Mangroves | 2. Introduced Weeds | 3. Cultivated Flowers
4. Introduced Trees & Shrubs | 5. Podocarps & Araucarians | 6. Native Flowers, Shrubs, & Trees

Crocosmia: C�r�o�c�o�s�m�i�a� x �c�r�o�c�o�s�m�i�i�f�l�o�r�a.

Crocosmia: Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora. Crocosmia is a member of the Iris Family native to grasslands of southern and eastern Africa. Our crocosmia is a hybrid that has become mildly invasive in temperate coastal environments.

Crocosmia: C�r�o�c�o�s�m�i�a� x �c�r�o�c�o�s�m�i�i�f�l�o�r�a.

Crocosmia: Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora. Originally introduced as an ornamental plant crocosmia has become mildly invasive in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and along the Pacific Coast of the United States.

Creeping Buttercup: Ranunculus repens.

Creeping Buttercup: Ranunculus repens. Creeping buttercup is a member of the Buttercup Family native to Europe, Asia, and northwestern Africa, but widely naturalized and sometimes mildly invasive, especially in pastures with perennially moist soil.

Creeping Buttercup: Ranunculus repens.

Creeping Buttercup: Ranunculus repens. The plant can form dense patches that crowd out other species, but seldom take over entire pastures.

Tall Mallow: Malva sylvestris.

Tall Mallow: Malva sylvestris. Tall mallow is a member of the Mallow Family native to Europe, Asia, and northwestern Africa, but widely naturalized across the English-speaking world.

Tall Mallow: Malva sylvestris.

Tall Mallow: Malva sylvestris. The plant lives well under the blade of a lawnmower, but can grow to three or four feet tall if left uncut.

Bird's Foot Trefoil: Lotus corniculatus.

Bird's Foot Trefoil: Lotus corniculatus. Bird's foot trefoil is a member of the Pea Family native to Europe, Asia, and northwestern Africa, but widely introduced around the world as a forage plant for livestock. From cultivation, it naturally spreads into local environments.

Tree lupine: Lupinus arboreus.

Tree lupine: Lupinus arboreus. Tree lupine, also known as yellow bush lupine, is a member of the Pea Family native to California. It has escaped cultivation to become naturalized in western Europe, New Zealand, Australia, parts of southern South America and the Falkland Islands.

Gorse: Ulex europaeus.

Gorse: Ulex europaeus. Gorse is a member of the Pea Family native to Europe. It has been intentionally or accidentally spread around the world, often becoming a serious problem. In New Zealand, gorse was introduced for use as a hedge, but turned into an invasive plant, overtaking pastures with its coarse and spiny vegetation. Gorse has also become a problem plant in the western United States and Chile.

Scotch Broom: Cytisus scoparius.

Scotch Broom: Cytisus scoparius. Broom is a member of the Pea Family native to Europe. It has been intentionally or accidentally spread around the world, often becoming a serious problem. It has become an invasive species in the Pacific Coast of North America as well as in New Zeealand, Australia, and India.

Common Heather: Calluna vulgaris.

Common Heather: Calluna vulgaris. Common heather is a member of the Heath Family native to Europe, best known for its association with the heathlands or moorlands, typically growing in acidic soil. It was introduced to New Zealand where it has become a dominant plant in Tongariro National Park.

Self-Heal: Prunella vulgaris.

Self-Heal: Prunella vulgaris. Self-heal is a member of the Mint Family native to Europe and Asia, but widely naturalized in temperate climates around the world. Unlike typical Mints, self-heal lacks a minty smell, and doesn't have very square stems. It is edible as a salad green or potherb, and best known as a mild "cure-all," taken internally or applied externally for just about any kind of malady.

Wild Carrot / Queen Anne's Lace: Daucus carota.

Wild Carrot / Queen Anne's Lace: Daucus carota. Wild carrot is a member of the Parsley Family native to Europe and southwest Asia. It is widely naturalized across North America, Australia, and New Zealand, often found growing along roadsides. Cultivated carrots were bred from a subspecies of wild carrot.

Fennel: Foeniculum vulgare.

Fennel: Foeniculum vulgare. Fennel is a member of the Parsley Family native to the Mediterranean and widely naturalized in suitable habitats worldwide. The anise-flavored leaves, seeds, and basal stalks are edible.

St. John's Wort: Hypericum perforatum.

St. John's Wort: Hypericum perforatum. St. John's Wort is a member of the St. Johns Wort Family native to the Europe, but widely naturalized and often invasive in suitable habitats worldwide. It is used herbally as an antidepressant.

Yarrow: Achillea millefolium.

Yarrow: Achillea millefolium. Yarrow is a member of the Aster Family native to temperate North America, Europe, and Asia, but also naturalized in New Zealand and other temperate habitats around the world.

Cat's Ear: Hypochaeris radicata.

Cat's Ear: Hypochaeris radicata. Cat's Ear is a member of the Aster Family native to Europe, but naturalized in the Americas, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. The plant is related to dandelions and edible like dandelions.

Ragwort: Jacobaea vulgaris.

Ragwort: Jacobaea vulgaris. Ragwort is a member of the Aster Family native to northern Eurasia, but widely naturalized around the world and very abundant in some areas of New Zealand.

Creeping Thistle / Canada Thistle: Cirsium arvense.

Creeping Thistle / Canada Thistle: Cirsium arvense. Creeping thistle is a member of the Aster Family native to northern Eurasia, but widely naturalized and invasive New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Canada, and the United States, where it is erroneously called "Canada thistle." The plant is also edible, as noted in Foraging the Mountain West.

Spear Thistle: Cirsium vulgare.

Spear Thistle: Cirsium vulgare. Spear thistle is a member of the Aster Family native to Eurasia and northwestern Africa, but widely naturalized in New Zealand, Australia, and North America.

Viper's Bugloss: Echium vulgare.

Viper's Bugloss: Echium vulgare. Viper's bugloss is a member of the Borage Family native to Eurasia, but widely naturalized North America and New Zealand.

Viper's Bugloss: Echium vulgare.

Viper's Bugloss: Echium vulgare.

Purple Morning Glory: Ipomoea purpurea.

Purple Morning Glory: Ipomoea purpurea.

Purple Morning Glory: Ipomoea purpurea.

Purple Morning Glory: Ipomoea purpurea. Purple morning glory is a member of the Morning Glory Family native to Mexico and Central America, but introduced and widespread in warm temperate regions of the world, including New Zealand and along the Pacific Coast of North America. The triangular seeds have been used as a psychedelic with effects similar to LSD.

Common Monkey Flower: Mimulus guttatus.

Common Monkey Flower: Mimulus guttatus. Monkey flower is a member of the Lopseed Family (formerly part of the Figwort Family) native to streambanks and seeps in the western North America, including my home state of Montana. It was a surprise to me to see isolated pockets of this familiar native on the other side of the world in New Zealand.

Common Monkey Flower: Mimulus guttatus.

Common Monkey Flower: Mimulus guttatus.

Common Mullein: Verbascum thapsus.

Common Mullein: Verbascum thapsus. Mullein is a member of the Figwort Family native to Eurasia and northern Africa, but widely naturalized in the Americas and Australia, and present in New Zealand.

Twiggy Mullein: Verbascum virgatum.

Twiggy Mullein: Verbascum virgatum. Twiggy mullein is a member of the Figwort Family native to western Europe, but widely naturalized around the world.

Foxglove: Digitalis purpurea.

Foxglove: Digitalis purpurea. Foxglove is a member of the Plantain Family (formerly part of the Figwort Family) native to Europe, but widely naturalized in North America and New Zealand.

Foxglove: Digitalis purpurea.

Foxglove: Digitalis purpurea. The flowers are usually pinkish-purple, but sometimes white.

Peruvian Groundcherry: Physalis peruviana.

Peruvian Groundcherry: Physalis peruviana. Peruvian Groundcherry is a member of the Nightshade Family native to South America, but widely cultivated and often naturalized in temperate climates around the world.

Peruvian Groundcherry: Physalis peruviana.

Peruvian Groundcherry: Physalis peruviana. Unlike many Nighshade family fruits, these tomato-like berries are edible and tastey.

Himalayan Honeysuckle: Leycesteria formosa.

Himalayan Honeysuckle: Leycesteria formosa. Himalayan Honeysuckle is a member of the Honeysuckle Family native to Himalaya and southwestern China, but widely naturalized and often invasive in Australia, New Zealand, and Micronesia.

Himalayan Honeysuckle: Leycesteria formosa.

Himalayan Honeysuckle: Leycesteria formosa. Like many other members of the Honeysuckle family, the flowers and fruits often form in pairs.

Japanese Honeysuckle: Leycesteria formosa.

Japanese Honeysuckle: Lonicera japonica.
Japanese honeysuckle is a member of the Honeysuckle Family native to Japan, Korea, and China, but widely naturalized and often invasive in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Mexico, and much of the United States.

Botanizing New Zealand
1. Intro and Mangroves | 2. Introduced Weeds | 3. Cultivated Flowers
4. Introduced Trees & Shrubs | 5. Podocarps & Araucarians | 6. Native Flowers, Shrubs, & Trees


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Books
authored by
Thomas J. Elpel
Roadmap to Reality: Consciousness, Worldviews, andthe Blossoming of Human Spirit
Roadmap
to Reality
Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction
Living
Homes
Participating in Nature: Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills.
Participating
in Nature
Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat.
Foraging the
Mountain West
Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
Botany
in a Day
Shanleya's Quest: A Botany Adventure for Kids
Shanleya's
Quest

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