Cape Town's Early Detection and Rapid Response

EDRR Target Species

  • Pampas grass

    Cortaderia selloana

    A member of the grass family growing 2-4m in height and robust and evergreen. Leaf blades are up to 1,8cm long and 5-7cm wide. They are V-shaped in cross-section and bluish green in colour. The upper surface is smooth at the base, but the tips are bristly and curled. The leaf edges are rough and sharp. Flowers consists of dense, feathery, 1-1,2m tall panicles that are light violet to cream or silvery white. The roots can spread to 4m in diameter and 4m in depth.

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  • Yellow flag iris

    Iris pseudacorus

    Yellow flag iris forms dense growth along riverbanks and the fringes of ponds, competing with indigenous species and altering water flow. It is a perennial moisture-loving plant with yellow flowers and long, strap-like leaves. It reaches a height of 100-150cm.

    Leaves: Long, strap-like leaves, green to bluish-green and erect, with the upper part bending over. Leaves 1m long and 30mm wide.

    Flowers: Large yellow flowers with three narrow and three broad lobes 70mm long and 40mm wide.

    Fruit/seeds: Glossy green three-angled capsules which are 40-80mm long.

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  • German Wasp/Yellow Jacket Wasp

    Vespula germanica

    Medium sized wasp (15-40mm) with yellow and black markings on abdomen and black antennae. The nests are papery and are normally built underground, however in urban settings they do sometimes produce the paper ball-like nests above ground under ceilings or inside wall cavities. This wasp is aggressive, especially if the nest or surrounding areas are disturbed. Nests should not be removed by public as protective equipment is essential.

    PLEASE REPORT WASP SIGHTINGS HERE   →

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  • Fountain grass

    Pennisetum setaceum

    This perennial clump-forming grass bears pink to purple seed heads. However, inflorescences can develop from light green (immature) to tan or light buff in colour (mature) with little or no traces of pink. The slender (0.2-0.4 cm wide), arching leaves grow to 0.6 m. The flowers and seeds grow as dense, cylindrical, bristly panicles 8-35 cm long on stalks that can reach 1.2 m in height. Leaf sheaths are usually smooth but often have edges lined with white hairs.

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  • Spanish broom

    Spartium junceum

    This is an unarmed, multi-stemmed shrub, native to Europe and growing to 1,5m-2,5m in height, with upright long and slender cylindrical green branches. The leaves are simple, undivided, silky beneath and blue-green in colour. Fragrant yellow flowers 25mm long and in racemes 300-400mm long are produced from August to November. Seeds consist of flattened brown pods up to 75mm long, initially covered with silky white hairs.

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  • Madeira vine

    Anredera cordifolia

    Common name: Madeira vine (English), Madeira-ranker (Afrikaans), Intandela (Zulu), Alternative common names: Bridal wreath, Lamb’s tails, Cascade creeper, White shroud, Potato vine

    Madeira vine is a creeper from South America with wide, fleshy, waxy heart-shaped leaves, bright green in colour. It produces fragrant creamy spikes, about 10cm long with numerous individual small flowers resembling a lamb’s tail. Flowering period: Feb-May. This creeper produces tubers (5mm-25cm) light-brown or green potato-like tubers along the stem, which fall to the ground and sprout. If not controlled properly, this species can cause substantial ecological damage by smothering indigenous vegetation.

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  • Devil's Beard (previously known as Red Valerian)

    Centranthus ruber

    This perennial has stems 30-80cm tall with blue-green oval to lance-shaped leaves. The stems are often woody at the base. Flowers are usually deep pink to magenta, but sometimes white. Native to Mediterranean Europe.

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  • Blue bell creeper

    Billardiera heterophylla

    Bluebell creeper is native to south-western Australia. It is a medium-sized climbing shrub. The branches climb and twirl around other plants and man-made structures. It has dark green, glossy leaves about 50mm long. There is a distinctive mid-vein and the leaf is hairless. Flowers appear from spring to summer and are usually blue-mauve in colour, but some plants produce pink or white flowers. Each flower is bell-shaped with five petals and occur in drooping clusters of 1-5 flowers at the tips of the branches. The fruits are green turning purple green, cylindrical in shape and about 20mm long.

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  • Barbados gooseberry

    Pereskia aculeata

    A succulent and perennial plant from tropical South America introduced as ornamental and barrier plant. It is a spiny vine in the Cactaceae family with strongly scented flowers in white, cream or pinkish, 2.5–5 cm diameter. The leaves are 4–11 cm long and 1.5–4 cm broad, simple, entire, and deciduous in the dry season. Younger stems have hooked thorns and older stems have clusters of woody spines. Leaves and fruits are edible and the seeds are spread by birds and other animals feeding on the fruit.

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  • European Paper Wasp

    Polistes dominula

    Medium sized wasp (20-30mm) with yellow and black markings on abdomen and orange antennae.  The nests are always above ground and can easily distinguished from those of Vespula germanica in that the nest cells are visible on the underside of nests. Where present, these wasps are common on lawns where they forage for caterpillars and other prey. Nests can be sprayed with supermarket insecticide approved for flying insects. Fog nests and wasps early in the morning or in the evening.

    PLEASE REPORT WASP SIGHTINGS HERE   →

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  • Wild Sunflower

    Verbesina encelioides

    V. encelioides is an erect annual reaching 30 cm and up to 160 cm and grows from a taproot system. Leaves are toothed or lobed and have two growth patterns: lower leaves are opposite and triangular, while the upper leaves are alternate and lance shaped. Fine white hairs are present on the underside of leaves and on the stem. Flower heads are bright yellow and found on elongated stalks and resemble small sunflowers, and are 2.5 to 5 cm in diameter. This species originates from North and Central America.

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  • Common Myna

    Acridotheres tristis

    The common myna (Acridotheres tristis) is an invasive bird indigenous to India, as well as central and southern Asia. Medium-sized birds, brown with a shiny black head and shoulders. The bill and patch of bare skin around the eyes are bright yellow with the legs and feet a slightly duller yellow. White wing patches are visible in flight. The tail is black with a white tip. These birds are common in urban areas and farmland close to buildings. It nests in man-made structures or tree cavities and may oust native species to do so. 

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  • Pompom weed

    Campuloclinium macrocephalum

    An erect, perennial herbaceous plant with hairy stem and leaves. Tall flower spikes above the plant with bright pink fluffy flower heads surrounded by purple bracts from December to March. The slightly serrated leaves closest to the ground are dense and large (80mm long by 20mm wide), decreasing in size and density higher up the plant. The flowers give way to a cluster of greyish-brown wind-dispersed seeds not dissimilar to a dandelion arrangement (only more robust and dense). This plant is native to Central and South America.

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  • Pearl acacia

    Acacia podalyriifolia

    Acacia podalyriifolia is one of the most popular and widely cultivated of wattles. It is an evergreen shrub or tree growing 3-6m high, with silvery-grey to dull green, oval, velvety leaves. Flowers are bright yellow, spherical and appear in long, showy sprays from June to August. Greyish brown, velvety seed pods are usually 30-80 mm long and 15-20mm wide. 

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  • Chandelier plant

    Bryophyllum delagoense

    Bryophyllum delagoense (commonly known as Chandelier plant or Mother-of-Millions) is an erect, hairless succulent perennial originating from Madagascar. Growing from 30cm to 1.2m in height, its stems are pinkish-brown to greyish in colour. The leaves are shaped like a pencil, pale green to pale brown in colour, with dark green patches and a shallow groove on the upper surface. There are up to seven projections at the tip of each leaf which when broken off can develop into new plants. Competes with indigenous species and is very poisonous to humans and animals. Its flowers are orange-red in colour and group in a cluster at the top of a single stem. It flowers in June and July.

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  • Tree of heaven

    Ailanthus altissima

    A fast growing deciduous tree from China can grow 20m or more. It has smooth stems with pale gray bark, and twigs which are light chestnut brown, especially in the dormant season. In late spring, clusters of small, yellow-green flowers appear near the tips of branches. Seeds are produced on female trees in late summer to early autumn. Fruits are papery, somewhat twisted, winged structures called samaras that are tan to pink-coloured.

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  • Purple loosestrife

    Lythrum salicaria

    A plant of European origin, it is an erect, hairy perennial that can reach up to 2m high. It has 30-50 stems and forms wide-topped crowns. The stems are reddish-purple or red to purple and square in cross-section and the downy leaves are lance-shaped. Showy spikes of rose-purple flowers appear in summer. The flowers are10-20mm in diameter, with six petals (occasionally five) and 12 stamens, clustered tightly in the axils of bracts or leaves. The fruit is a small 3-4mm capsule containing numerous minute seeds.

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  • Montpellier broom/ French Broom

    Genista monspessulana

    A 1-3m high shrub native to Europe with unarmed, slender, erect, very leafy, green branches; young branches are ridged and hairy. Short racemes of 3-9 flowers positioned at the tips of lateral branches. Flowers are pea-like, bright yellow, up to 13mm long; flowering from August-January. Seed pods are rusty brown, covered with silky hairs, usually with 5-8 seeds per pod.

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  • Sweet hakea

    Hakea drupacea (= H. suaveolens)

    A dense spreading or erect shrub or tree up to 6m high. The leaves are smooth and up to 100mm long and form sharp-pointed needles 30-50mm long and are dark-green to grey-green in colour.There are 46–84 flowers, cream in colour and fragrant, forming elongated, axillary clusters up to 20mm long and flower from June to September. Seeds consist of woody capsules approximately 25mm long and 20mm wide.

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  • Australian cheesewood, Sweet Pittosporum

    Pittosporum undulatum

    Evergreen shrub or tree growing up to 12m high, with slender branches and native to eastern Australia. It has smooth, grey bark and leaves which are up to 150mm long, thin, shiny and dark green. The flowers are white and fragrant, up to 13mm long with five downward curving petals; flowering from August-September. Fruits are showy, two-halved capsules up to 13mm in diameter, orange turning brown; seeds surrounded by a sticky pulp.

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  • Red flowering tea tree

    Melaleuca hypericifolia

    A multiple branched large shrub or small tree from New South Wales in Australia that grows up to 4,5m tall. It is erect at first and then spreading. Very firm papery to corky bark and the oblong leaves occur in opposite pairs. Small orange-red flowers are borne on showy, dense spikes from spring to early summer.

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  • Balloon vine

    Cardiospermum grandiflorum

    A perennial, slightly woody subtropical climber which occurs naturally in tropical South America. Its climbing tendrils grow 3-5m or higher, often draping themselves over trees. The stems are usually covered with bristly hairs. Easily recognisable with its compound leaf, which has toothed, light green, thin textured, hairy leaflets. Flower stalks bearing small white flowers arise from the leaf axils of the plant. The fruit consists of a roughly spherical, balloon-like, thin-walled capsule about 60mm long, which contains several large black seeds.

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  • Hop Wattle

    Acacia stricta

    An erect or spreading shrub or tree 3-6m tall native to Australia. The bark smooth and flowers appear from July to October. Seed pods are more or less straight, raised over seeds, straight-sided, usually 4-10cm long, 2-5mm wide, papery to thinly leathery.

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  • Pepper tree wattle

    Acacia elata

    A large, oval shaped thornless evergreen tree 12-18m tall, native to Australia. Pale yellow or cream globular flower heads appear in panicles from October to December and trees produce 4-17cm long seed pods which are more or less flat and straight-sided, or slightly constricted between seeds.

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  • Screw Pod Wattle

    Acacia implexa

    An erect or spreading tree 5-12m high, that often suckers (shoot rising from a woody plant, often some distance away from the main stem) freely, native to Australia. Pale yellow to cream fluffy ball-shaped flowers appear in summer. There are usually 4-8 flowers on each raceme. A highly distinguishing feature is the seed pods, which are curved to twisted or coiled, raised over seeds, 6-20cm long, 4-7mm wide, and firmly papery to leathery.

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  • Kangaroo wattle

    Acacia paradoxa

    A densely leafed, spiny shrub from Australia growing to 3m tall and 3,5m wide. Heads of bright yellow, fluffy blooms appear in August to October. The flower heads plus the stalk are about equal to the length of the leaf. The seed pods are short-stalked, brown, straight or slightly curved, cylindrical, 4-7cm long and about 0,5cm wide. They are typically rounded over the seeds, and very rarely narrowed between seeds.

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  • Rivina, Bloodberry

    Rivina humilis

    A perennial groundcover native to North America, growing to 30-80cm high with woody stems at the base and spreading branches that are softly downy when young. This plant has light green, thin leaves and white or greenish to rosy small flowers on slender racemes from October to June, or even all year and produces bright red berries. The leaves, roots and fruit and poisonous.

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  • Yellow water lily; Geelwaterlelie

    Nymphaea mexicana

    Growth form: Perennial, rooted aquatic plant with floating leaves.

    Flowers: Pale to bright yellow, 80 – 180 mm across, emergent or floating, open during the day, fragrant. Pointed and star-like petals with greenish-yellow sepals. Flowering period: Nov-Feb.

    Fruit/seeds: Green berries which grow underwater.

    Leaves: Upper surface of the leaves are green, blotched with brown mostly while leaves are young, lower leaf surface green or pinkish-red with reddish blotches, leaf margins are generally wavy and upturned.

    Rhizomes & roots: Stout knobbly rhizomes connected by stolons, roots are long, pale and spongy.

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