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Where to go for weed information

Are you wanting to identify an unknown weed, but not sure where to start? Here are some useful information sources:


The best weed identification books for New Zealanders are published by the New Zealand Plant Protection Society. They are:

  • A Guide to the Identification of New Zealand Common Weeds in Colour
    compiled by E.A. Upritchard (ISBN 0-9597676-1-4) and
  • An Illustrated Guide to Common Weeds of New Zealand
    by Roy, Popay, Champion, James and Rahman (ISBN 0-473-05296-2).

Both books provide colour photos of the major weed species in New Zealand. The Illustrated Guide to Common Weeds of New Zealand provides more detailed plant descriptions than its earlier (and cheaper) counterpart. You can find out more about these books on the Plant Protection Society website: http://www.hortnet.co.nz/publications/nzpps/publicat.html

They can be ordered through the Manaaki Whenua Press, PO Box 40, Lincoln 8152, phone 03 325 6700; fax 03 325 2127.


There are many websites dedicated to weeds and weed control. Here are some of the ones relevant to New Zealand lifestyle block owners:

  • Murray Dawson of Landcare Research and his collaborators have developed a very useful weed identification online tool
  • Environment Bay of Plenty hosts an excellent site for the identification of weed species in New Zealand: http://www.envbop.govt.nz/Weeds/Weed-Index.asp This site lists weeds by scientific and common names, provides a colour identification photo and suggests methods of control.
  • Massey University has a website called New Zealand Weeds, designed for members of the public as well as students studying weed science. There is a database covering many of the common pasture weeds, as well as good links to other sites and weed information. The URL is: http://weeds.massey.ac.nz
  • The Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture has reproduced selected images and information from the book An Illustrated Guide to Common Weeds of New Zealand (mentioned above). This is now online at http://www.rnzih.org.nz You can also access other Australian and New Zealand weed sites from the RNZIH website.
  • The Department of Conservation website, http://www.doc.govt.nz features fact sheets on banana passionfruit, climbing asparagus, ivy, Japanese honeysuckle, Mexican daisy, old man’s beard, pampas, Tradescantia, undaria, wild ginger, wilding pines.
  • The New Zealand Landcare Trust includes a pest and weeds database on their website: http://www.landcare.org.nz
    As well as weed identification photos, the database links into local government sites so that you can follow up on the plant pest management requirements in your region. It also cross links to other references e.g. environmental effects, distribution and control methods for each species.
Don’t forget your local council

Under the Biosecurity Act of 1993, the Regional Councils (or unitary authorities in Gisborne, Tasman, Nelson and Marlborough) have the responsibility for the control of plant pests in their region. Problem plants will vary between regions so councils will have individual Plant Pest Management Strategies. Biosecurity staff have the responsibility of educating the public about the plant pests in their district. They do a great job of this with fact sheets, booklets and posters on specific weeds available from the council offices. Many of the weed fact sheets are also available free over the internet. Each council has its own website, but a good place to link into all the local government websites is: http://www.oultwood.com/localgov/newzealand.htm

Information supplied by: Helen Percy, Bioengineering Technologies, HortResearch, Private Bag 3123, Hamilton
Phone: 07 858 4742. Fax: 07 858 4705. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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