Green Cestrum

Also known as:
Chilean Cestrum
Chile & 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. Greenish-yellow, tubular flowers (Nov-May) offensive smell by day, fragrant by night. Clusters of small, shiny purplish 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 are 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. Toxic to humans. 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. Report it immediately to the Auckland Council Biosecurity team, who will arrange for its control at their expense.
2. Pull out small plants.
3. Cut & stump paint (100ml Tordon BK/1L or 100ml triclopyr/1L).
4. 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

Queen of the night has larger leaves and white rather than purple berries.

red cestrum
Cestrum elegans/C.fasciculatum

C. elegans has magenta-crimson flowers & crimson berries and C. fasciculatum has scarlet-purple flowers & dark red berries.

Search tags

RPMS status

Total Control - Whole Region
National Pest Plant Accord species - nationwide
green cestrum - Main species image