Red Hot Poker

Kniphofia uvaria

Family: Asphodelaceae

Type of weed:

Description

  • Red Hot Poker is a large, hardy perennial lily to about 1.5m from southern Africa. It has a thick clumping habit, and will tolerate most conditions. A garden ornamental, currently heavily promoted as ‘water-wise’.
  • Stiff, slightly fleshy narrow leaves to 90cm long rise from the base. They have a V-shaped profile, and a distinct keel-shaped mid-vein on the underside.
  • A large torch-like cluster of small drooping tubular flowers, usually of two colours, rises above the foliage on a stout erect stem. These flowers produce copius bird-attracting nectar. Flowers in late summer.
  • Each small flower produces a capsule containing many seeds.

Dispersal

Seeds are wind blown, can travel on tyres, shoes, clothing and in soil. Red Hot Poker clumps vigorously, spreads by and regrows from its rhizomes, and from garden dumping on bushland edges.

Impact on bushland

Red Hot Poker seeks out sensitive and fragile bushland such as swamps, moist forest and creeklines. It spreads rapidly, its dense clumps excluding the roots of other plants and preventing the germination of their seeds. Regenerates strongly and spreads widely after fire.

Distribution

. Capable of spreading throughout the Blue Mountains.

Alternative planting

Native plants

Flowers and/or fruit to attract birds, as well as being water-wise:

  • Local Banksias, Hakeas, Grevilleas, Callistemons
  • Flax Lilies (Dianella species)
  • Saw-sedges (Gahnia species)

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.

Exotic alternatives

Most exotic lilies have weed potential.

  • Escallonia (Escallonia macrantha)

Control

  • Cut and bag flower and seed heads and send to tip.
  • Dig out with a mattock, removing all roots and rhizomes.
  • Cut below crown and paint top of rhizome.
  • Try weed wiping leaves.
  •  Follow-up will be required, removing or treating seedlings and resprouting.