Old Man's Beard

(Clematis vitalba)

Progressive Control Pest

Golden Bay to Kaiteriteri and Upper Buller Catchment

Old Man’s Beard is a deciduous, woody climber that may reach 25 metres in height. It has conspicuous flowers that are without true petals, but have white sepals, which bloom in late summer. In autumn, a dense down takes the place of flowers. The down consists of long, fluffy tails on the seeds, which lasts well into winter. The down assists during dispersal via wind and water. One plant is capable of blanketing an area of 180 square metres and seeds are produced at the rate of 10,000 per square metre.

Reasons for the Strategy

Old mans beard vine in flower.

Old Man’s Beard has the potential to invade most lowland areas (below 750 metres above sea-level) of the Tasman-Nelson region, so accordingly represents an extraordinary threat to natural values. The plant will outgrow and eventually destroy supporting plant life. It is a particularly troublesome plant in second growth or damaged indigenous forests, being very persistent, with a lifespan of greater than 30 years. Heavily infested sites may impede human movement through forests and along riparian margins and prevent the establishment of indigenous seedlings.

Old Man’s Beard is assessed at “4” on the infestation curve for the Golden Bay to Kaiteriteri and Upper Buller Catchment areas, and “7” for the rest of the Tasman-Nelson region. The low incidence of Old Man’s Beard in the Golden Bay to Kaiteriteri and Upper Buller Catchment areas, extensive areas of suitable habitat, high natural values of these areas, and the potential for it to cause significant adverse effects, mean the benefits of progressive control far outweigh the costs. For the rest of the Tasman-Nelson region, the Management Agency will focus on providing advice to the public on controlling Old Man’s Beard, continue investment in biocontrol agents, and carry out control at sites of high public value. The Management Agency will promote the use of a variety of management regimes for riparian areas, including the use of poplars and the use of controlled grazing, for the management of Old Man’s Beard.

Objective

To reduce the distribution and density of Old Man’s Beard in the Golden Bay to Kaiteriteri and Upper Buller Catchment areas during the term of the Strategy.

Alternative Measures

The alternative option of “do nothing” or relying on voluntary control will not achieve the objective of reducing the distribution and density of Old Man’s Beard in the Golden Bay to Kaiteriteri and Upper Buller Catchment areas, and will result in significant additional costs to the community through lost natural values and the increased cost of control in the future. Requiring total control for the Golden Bay to Kaiteriteri and Upper Buller Catchment areas is not practical. The prolific seeding of Old Man’s Beard and its seven to nine year seed life makes eradication extremely difficult. Requiring progressive control over the whole Tasman-Nelson region is not practical given the widespread distribution of Old Man’s Beard.

Strategy Rule for Old Man’s Beard

An occupier in the Golden Bay to Kaiteriteri or Upper Buller Catchment areas shall destroy all adult and juvenile forms of Old Man’s Beard on land that they occupy. A breach of Strategy Rule 5.8.5 is an offence under Section 154(r) of the Biosecurity Act 1993.

Biosecurity Act Requirement

No person shall knowingly sell, propagate, breed, release, or commercially display Old Man’s Beard, under Sections 52 and 53 of the Act.