Mickey Mouse Plant

(Also known as Ochna)

Ochna serrulata

Family: Ochnaceae

Type of weed:

Flowering Months: , ,

Description

An erect dense shrub 2–4 m tall.

Leaves are alternate with distinctive finely serrated margins and a prominent mid-vein. Leaves are shiny, bronze in colour when young and dark green when mature.

Flowers have five petals, are bright yellow and appear in spring. The petals fall off in spring to expose green sepals that turn a distinctive red as fruit develops.

Fruit is an oval drupe that turns from green to black over late spring to summer.

Dispersal

Seed is spread by birds. Ochna is a popular plant in gardens and also spreads into the bush from plantings and in dumped garden waste.

Impact on bushland

In intact bushland the shrubs are often scattered. In disturbed bushland Ochna can form dense stands that exclude native ground cover and shrubs and eventually prevent regeneration of larger shrubs and trees.

Distribution

, . Mainly Mid to Lower Mountains.

Alternative planting

Native plants

Choose local plants that provide bird habitat:

  • Lambertia formosa)
  • Silky Needlefish (Hakea teretifolia)
  • Hairpin Banksia (Banksia spinulosa)
  • Silver Banksia (Banksia marginata)
  • Lance Leaf Beard Heath (Leucopogen lanceolatus)
  • Red Bottlebrush (Callistemon citrinus)

Council provides a tool, on its Mountain Landscapes website, to help you choose native alternative plantings. Choose your village, soil, vegetation community and the purpose of your planting, and the tool will give you suggestions.

There are native nurseries in several Blue Mountains villages, including Glenbrook, Lawson and Katoomba. Please also ask at your favourite local nursery.

Control

  • Dig out seedlings and small plants making sure all the root is removed. Ochna develops a kinked taproot that easily breaks off when the top is pulled.
  • Scrape and paint larger shrubs. Scrape two sides of the stem for approximately one third of the length and immediately apply herbicide.

Ochna reshoots vigorously from the base or taproot. Established plants can be difficult to control and follow-up treatment is required. Remove and dispose of semi-ripe and ripe fruit. Best results are attained when control is done in the spring and summer.

For more info

For key points on these techniques: