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18 August, 2010
MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ), in partnership with Northland Regional Council, Auckland Regional Council and the Department of Conservation, are requesting help to find the whereabouts of the invasive plant bat-wing passion flower.
Bat-wing passion flower (Passiflora apetala) is an emerging threat to New Zealand's environment. It grows rapidly, and tends to smother and shade surrounding vegetation.
MAFBNZ Response Manager, Sheree Christian says "bat-wing passion flower has been present in New Zealand for several years and is believed to be at an early stage of naturalisation".
"The plant has been found in several areas, but we need help from the public to determine where else it is in New Zealand. At this stage, we just need to establish the full whereabouts of the plant. After this we will make an informed decision on the best course of action".
Information about the plant will feature in community newspapers during the week requesting help from the public to find bat-wing passion flower. The plant is most likely to grow in warmer climates, so advertising will take place in Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and Nelson.
The leaves of bat-wing passion flower have two large lobes (making it look like bat wings). It produces small yellow-green flowers and small black berries that are attractive to birds. The plant is likely to be found in forest margins and scrub, home gardens and amongst hedges and fences lines where birds perch.
If you have seen or suspect you have seen bat-wing passion flower, please contact MAFBNZ on 0800 80 99 66.
Photos available on request.
For further information, please contact:
Kathy Dyer, Senior Communications Adviser, 04 894 0335