Type of weed: Woody weed
Fiercely thorny shrubs or small trees up to 4m tall.
Leaves narrow and oblong-shaped, arranged alternately along stem. Upper surface glossy dark green, lower surface pale green, hairy.
Masses of white flowers in branched clusters occur in spring to summer, followed by masses of yellow to orange-red berries in late summer to autumn.
Don’t confuse with…
Firethorn can be confused with the weed Cotoneaster, but is easily distinguished from it by the presence of long spines.
Berries are attractive to birds, especially the Pied Currawong, which is a major dispersal source. Introduced black rats and native brushtail possums have been known to excrete seeds of Firethorn. Seeds can also spread into bushland from dumped garden waste.
Impact on bushland
Can invade forests, woodland and creeklines, and has the potential to form dense infestations that will smother native vegetation
Bird attracting natives, screening shrubs and small trees such as:
- Banksia (Banksia ericifolia, B. serrata, or ‘Giant Candles’)
- Lilypillies (Acmena smithii)
- Grevillea spp.
- Hakea dactyloides
- Acacia fimbriata
- Callistemon spp.
- Leptospermum spp.
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.
- Seedlings can be hand pulled if all the roots can be removed.
- More established plants will need to be cut and painted using herbicide.
- Larger plants can be stem injected.
Because the berries are bird spread, treat plants before they fruit. Bag and dispose of berries, or place in a hot compost to kill the seeds. Other cut parts of the plant can be spread out to dry off the ground. Once material is dead it will decompose in place, or can be composted.