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Pest plants

Pest plants

Updated 18 March 2020 9:50am

Pest plants threaten our regions parks and reserves, and take over our productive land. They can cause serious harm to our environment, along with health risks to people, and threaten agricultural industries.

Woolly nightshade (or kerosene plant) is one of the pest plants we aim to eradicate from the Wellington region.

Find out about pest plant operations and methods used. Follow these tips 'n' tricks to effectively control pest plants on your property.

Spotted a pest plant? What to do!

With so many weedy plants out there, we all need to be involved in pest weed control. We partner with Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), local councils and communities. We undertake direct control of targeted pest plants in specific areas, while others need to be managed by people on their own properties.

Some of New Zealand’s unwanted organisms are present in our region. If you see one of these pest plants then note the location, take a photo if you can, and contact us on 0800 496 734 or email We will investigate to confirm the plant and contact MPI.

 Cape tulip

Water hyacinth

Manchurian wild rice


These pest plants are controlled as part of the Regional Pest Management Plan 2019-2039. We aim to either totally eradicate or control these so they don’t spread.

If you see one of these pest plants then note the location, take a photo if you can, and contact us on 0800 496 734 or email

Alligator weed

Nasella tussock (finestem needlegrass)


Blue passion flower

Purple loosestrife (bouquet-violet)

Boneseed* (saltbush, bitou bush, Higgins curse) *controlled in areas other than farms

Senegal tea (temple plant, costata, hygrophila costata)

Chilean needle grass

Spartina (American or hybrid spartina, cord grass)


Climbing spindle berry (oriental bittersweet)




Woolly nightshade (tobacco weed, flannel-leaf, kerosene plant)

Mothplant (kapok vine, mothvine, cruel plant, milkvine, milk weed, wild choko vine)

Wildling conifers – European larch, Douglas fir and pine species

If you live in Hutt City, contact the Hutt City Council if you see any of these pest plants:

Banana passionfruit

Old man’s beard

Cathedral bells (cup and saucer vine, monastery bells, Mexican ivy)


There are some weeds that are so widespread that control by the landowner is the only option.

Here is advice on how you can manage some of the more common pest plants:

Banana Passionfruit (banana passion flower, wild blue-crown, wild passion vine)

Old man’s beard


Tradescantia (wandering willie)





Not sure which weed?

See Weedbusters for detailed descriptions and images to help identify these pests. You can also be part of the growing Weedbuster network – whether you’re a group, school, or individual.  

For farmers and agricultural professionals, Agpest is a useful tool for weed and pest identification, biology, impact and management.

If you’re an avid observer of nature, share information through iNaturatlist. Every observation can contribute to biodiversity science, from the rarest butterfly to the most common backyard weed.

Other useful pest plant resources