Cape Town Invasives News

City thanks residents for spotting new Cape Town weed

City thanks residents for spotting new Cape Town weed

15 JULY 2014

Reports from observant members of the public of emergent weeds have enabled the City of Cape Town to respond quickly before the plant spreads. Through partnerships such as these, we are creating a more sustainable city together. Read more below: 

A new emerging weed has recently been spotted in the Bothasig and Hazendal areas by members of the Custodians for Rare and Endangered Wilflowers (CREW). CREW reported this to the City of Cape Town and this has enabled the City’s Invasive Species Unit to start removing these plants before they set seed during their flowering cycle, which has started.
Close up of the flower

This is the first time that the wild sunflower (Verbesina encelioides) has been recorded in the Western Cape.

It is considered an intrusive invader because it spreads over fertile land and prevents the development of any other local plant species.
Wild sunflowers
It was reported to the Early Detection, Rapid Response (EDRR) programme, which aims to identify new and emerging invader species and to remove them before they establish and become widespread across the city.

The plant is an annual herb originating from North America. It was until recently known to be found in the Northern Cape, Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga. The wild sunflower invades roadsides, cultivated and uncultivated land, disturbed sites and sandy watercourses. It has the potential to take over the habitat of indigenous plants and its noxious toxins are a potential threat to grazing sheep and cattle.

The spotting, reporting and identification of the wild sunflower is just one example of how Capetonians can play a crucial role in the conservation of Cape Town’s unique natural areas. By being made aware of this species before it establishes itself, the EDRR programme is able to remove it before it becomes widespread around the city.

The EDRR programme – a partnership between the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), the Natural Resources Management Programmes (NRMP – Working for Water) and the City – relies on the residents of Cape Town to report sightings on any of the target species as well as potential new invaders.

Residents wanting to participate in the programme can visit Further information about invasive species and their impact can be found on (with a Cape Town focus).

Cape Town residents are urged to report sightings of this flower to the Cape Town Invasive Species Unit. Please see: