Source: Sydney Weeds Committe
Just about any overgrown garden in Lane Cove is likely to have seedlings
of this tough invasive shrub. It grows up to 2 to 3 metres tall,
has dark green, finely serrated leaves and a yellowish white stem.
In spring it produces many yellow flowers which over summer gradually
turn red with a black, bird-attracting berry in the centre.
Ochna is reminiscent of privet in a number of ways - it came to
Lane Cove as a hedge plant; even if cut down to the ground or pruned
it resprouts vigorously in the form of multi-stemmed trunks; it
readily invades bushland, crowding and shading out native vegetation;
and its berries are a major food source for Currawongs which spread
the plant all over the North Shore.
Currawongs originally migrated between Sydney and the Blue Mountains
each year but, encouraged in the last 20 years by an abundance of
food (from garbage bins, petfood, residents feeding them, and the
proliferation of berry-fruited plants in gardens and bushland),
they now live here all year. Currawongs are merciless, efficient
predators of small birds like Robins, Wrens and Honeyeaters. Sometimes
you even see Currawong gangs harassing nesting Kookaburras for their
eggs. Ochnas in the garden harbour Currawongs.
Noxious Weed Category: 4
Control & Removal Methods
Ochnas have a very long taproot. Often at soil level or just below,
the stem will have a kink in it which snaps easily when pulled.
The taproot is usually twice the length or more of the above ground
stem and contains loads of energy to resprout which it does 9 times
out of 10 when cut or broken off. If your Ochna plant is over 10
cm high you’ll have to dig a 20 cm hole to get it out or scrape
the side of the stem and paint it with glyphosate. If your Ochna
is 2 metres high, the easiest, most effective control is to scrape
and paint the stems with glyphosate.
If you have Ochna in your garden please replace it with a suitable
alternative plant species, preferably using native plants indigenous
to Lane Cove to help attract small birds.