Soft-wooded, leafy, perennial shrub <2m tall. Stems often reddish & soft when young, becoming woody, hollow & much-branched with age. Fleshy taproot. Ovate, bluntly-pointed leaves age from light to dark green. Flower spikes (Nov-Aug) mature from green to crimson. Clusters of purple-black berries.
Disturbed ground, open areas, waste areas, cutover shrub or forest, riverbeds, old pastures. Prefers frost-free conditions.
Seeds dispersed by birds.
Not a serious problem. Forms dense stands in open areas. Poisonous but not usually touched by livestock.
Requires disturbed & bare soil (fire, spraying, digging, etc), so minimise disturbance. Short-lived plant, succeeded quickly. Regenerating shady sites (or where groundcover is becoming dense) can normally be left. Control only where rare, or habitat vulnerable.
1. Pull out small plants, minimising soil disturbance.
2. Slash stems close to ground & stump paint (1g metsulfuron/1L).
3. Overall spray (100ml glyphosate + 20ml penetrant/10L or 5g metsulfuron + 10ml penetrant/10L).
Caution: when using any herbicide or pesticide PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.