Terrestrial Invasives

Fucraea foetida

Fucraea foetidaMauritius hemp

Common Name 
Mauritius hemp
Legal Status 
Emerging Weed

Mauritius hemp is an evergreen perennial shrub that has a short stem up to 1m high. The leaves are sword-shaped and to a sharp spine tip at the apex and usually have some widely-spaced hooked prickles (4-10 mm long) along their lower margins. Leaves are pale green or bright green in colour. The flowers are greenish to creamy white, 4cm long and strongly scented. They are produced on a large inflorescence up to 12m tall

Mauritius hemp flower stalk
Widely-Spaced hooked prickles
Where does this species come from? 
The Mauritius hemp is native to the Caribbean and northern South America.
Why is it a problem? 
It is known to invade coastal sites and cliffs, gullies, hillsides and open woodlands where it crowds out indigenous species.
Means of reproduction? 
This species reproduces by plantlets (i.e. bulbils), which are formed by the thousands on the branches of the massive flower clusters. Gravity is the main natural means of dispersal, and dense thickets often form around individual plants. These plantlets may also be spread larger distances by animals, in soil or in dumped garden waste.