'Fake' native plants to avoid
Some plants that are native to other regions of New Zealand but not to Wellington are making a negative impact here. These include popular species such as karo, karaka and pohutukawa, as well as lacebark and hybrids of houpara.
Horticulture has led to the introduction of exotic species closely related to our native ones like several species of kowhai; these pose a risk to our endemic flora.
Some nurseries stock plant varieties that sound familiar and seem to be native but are not. These varieties may merge with local stock and change the look, colours and textures of local nature. Horticulture exacerbated this problem by actively selecting unusual variants. This applies to pohutukawa and rata species, Chilean and Lord Howe kowhai species such as the "goldilocks" and "Otari Gnome" even manuka and kanuka.
Help birds spread native seeds, not weeds. Remove weeds and plant more local natives so our birds will help scatter seeds that benefit our forests.
Make sure the species you plant is native to New Zealand, and locally native too. Just because a plant looks familiar at first glance doesn’t guarantee it belongs in our region; it may pose a threat.
- Tasmanian ngaio looks similar to New Zealand ngaio
- Kawakawa from the Pacific and other offshore island varieties
- Tree ferns from off-shore islands and Australia
- Kowhai from Chile and Lord Howe Island
- Nikau palm from Kermadec Island
Take at look at our weed list below, or head to www.weedbusters.co.nz. The book "Native Forest Restoration: A Practical Guide for Landowners" by Tim Porteous may also be of use (Queen Elizabeth II National Trust, 1993).