African Boxthorn National Strategy Draft Released for Comment Thu 9 August 2012 Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Environment A draft national strategy for African boxthorn, a Weed of National Significance with widespread presence and implications for Tasmania, has just been released for comment. Tasmania has overseen the drafting of the national strategic plan to improve national coordination in managing African boxthorn, one of Australia's most pervasive weeds. "Knowledge and experience on African boxthorn varies around the country, and we hope through implementing this strategy to use state by state experience to clarify what works best and to share it nationally," said Michael Noble, Weeds of National Significance Coordinator-Tasmania. A native of South Africa introduced to Australia in the mid 1800s as a hedge plant, African boxthorn is now widespread in Australia and is found in many parts of Tasmania, including greater Hobart, southern midlands, northern and eastern coastlines and Bass Strait islands. African boxthorn is a densely branched, thorny shrub with small fleshy leaves, flowers coloured white to lilac, and a small fruit that starts with a smooth green appearance and ripens into an orange-red berry. African boxthorn displaces native vegetation (reducing biodiversity and habitat), and has large thorns that can injure wildlife and livestock, and even puncture tyres. It readily grows on coastal lands, offshore islands, grazing lands, native vegetation and in many other environments. "African boxthorn provides excellent habitat for pests including starlings, foxes and rabbits. "Pests then consume its fruit and spread its seeds. "Better understanding this cycle and how it can be broken is all part of where we hope to head with this strategy," said Mr Noble. The draft Weed of National Significance (WoNS) African Boxthorn Strategic Plan has recently been approved for public release and feedback is welcomed. The draft and a link to a feedback form is online at www.weeds.org.au/WoNS/africanboxthorn/ Feedback can be provided on the feedback form or in a general email to Michael Noble (Michael.Noble@dpipwe.tas.gov.au) until 31 August 2012.For more information contact Michael Noble by the email address above or Ph 03 6421 5100, or visit the web site above.