Red Cestrum

Also known as:
Purple Cestrum
Chile and Peru.

General description

Vigorous, erect, perennial shrub <3m tall but more commonly 1-2m. Long-lived & partly deciduous in winter. Offensive-smelling leaves alternate, wavy, hairless, lance-shaped & <12cm long. C. elegans has magenta-crimson flowers & crimson berries and C. fasciculatum has scarlet-purple flowers & dark red berries.

Waste areas, stream banks, near gardens, bush margins, gullies, alluvial flats. Prefers higher rainfall areas. Very frost tolerant.

Seeds dispersed by birds & water. Pieces of cut root spread by cultivation. Also reproduces vegetatively from buds from creeping roots. Seeds remain dormant in the soil for many years.

Extremely toxic to farm animals. Dense infestations exclude virtually all other vegetation.

Site management

Hard to distinguish from many native spp. (apart from foul smell), best controlled when in flower. Wear gloves when handling, exclude stock at all times. Replant bared sites to minimise regrowth. Check for seedlings 6-monthly.`

Recommended approaches

1. Pull out small plants.
2. Cut & stump paint (100ml Tordon BK/1L or 100ml triclopyr/1L).
3. Spray spring - summer (60mls triclopyr +10mls penetrant/10L).

Caution: when using any herbicide or pesticide PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

queen of the night
Cestrum nocturnum

C. nocturnum has creamy white flowers & white berries.

green cestrum
Cestrum parqui

Green cestrum has greenish-yellow flowers and shiny purple berries.

Search tags

RPMS status

Not a legally declared pest plant
red cestrum - Main species image