Crassulaceae (stonecrop) family
Also known as
What does it look like?
Low-growing, succulent, evergreen, mat-forming herb (<10cm high) with fibrous roots and fleshy, round, creeping stems that take root at nodes and many short erect sterile and flowering stems. Ovalish, yellowish, hairless leaves (5 x 3 mm) are very fleshy and acrid to taste. Bright yellow star-like flowers (12 mm diameter) have five sharp petals (Nov-Mar) and are followed by many seeds in dry, splitting follicles.
Are there any similar species?
White stonecrop (S. album) has larger leaves, flattened on upper surface, white flowers but doesn?t have acrid taste or large number of seeds. Shrubby stonecrop (H. praealtum) is 50 cm high with yellow flowers in large pyramidal panicles. S. decumbens, S. forsterianum, S. reflexum, S. spectabile, S. spurium are all cultivated and occasionally spread, especially on coastlines.
Why is it weedy?
Succulent leaf and stem fragments root, giving it a creeping habit. Quick maturing; produces very many, relatively long-lived and well-dispersed seeds. Tolerates wind, salt, very hot to hard frost, drought, poorest soils. Intolerant of poor drainage, wet sites.
How does it spread?
Seed, stem and leaf fragments spread by soil and occasionally water, road graders, traffic and gravity (cliff areas) and also by deliberate movement and plantings. Sources include waste places, rail tracks, walls and banks, roadsides, river and coastal shingle.
What damage does it do?
Forms dense mats, excluding almost all other species. Threatens rare native low-growing coastal and shingle species.
Which habitats is it likely to invade?
Tall and short tussockland, bare land, riverbeds, coastal cliffs, behind beaches, sandy, rocky, stony, gravelly areas from sea level to 1500 m.
What can I do to get rid of it?
1. Dig out small patches (all year round): dispose of at refuse transfer station, burn or bury.
2. Overall spray (spring-summer): 150ml glyphosate + 2g metsulfuron-methyl 600g/kg + penetrant per 10L water.
What can I do to stop it coming back?
Frequent follow up control necessary to cover fragment regrowth. Begin at top of cliff, bank, etc. Do not replant for 2 months after spraying. May need to eradicate from nearby gardens. Popular garden plant, publicity may be required.