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Weed Impact on Biodiversity: Bitou Bush Essay Example

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Weed Impact on Biodiversity: Bitou Bush

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The weed grows perennially to about 1-2m high and sometimes forms canopies growing up to 10m high, which have covered the undergrowth preventing them from accessing sunlight. The bush sprawls and covers a large area with branched stems which are woody. The shallow roots of the plants making it difficult to pull as the fibrous root system do not allow it 2015). When slashed, it sprouts and flowers producing more seeds spreading to the other areas and increasing the area under coverage. The invasive nature of the bush poses a lot of difficulties for the authorities tasked with controlling its spread. The bush has an extensive root system and is very hard to control its spread than the other plants such as the bone seed. The flowers appear dustered at the on the branches’ ends and are yellow in colour, and 20mm in diameter. The bush produces tiny berries with a green fleshy skin that turns brown once they mature, which attract birds that feed on them facilitating dispersal in other areas. The single seed contained in the fruit is egg-shaped and 5-7mm long and black in colour once it dries. The germination of the seeds is throughout the year although in autumn it is more due to the favourable conditions making it quite difficult for the authorities to eliminate it. The growth is very fast with some plants flowering within the first year after germination although some plants can take as long as 18 months or 3 years before flowering and lowers throughout the year. Plants growing in the North flower earlier than the ones growing in the South coast of New South Wales making the infestation of the plant difficult to control. Each Bitou plant produces about 50, 000 seeds in a year and the dispersal are by animals and birds, which lead to the spread of the bush in several areas 2015). Birds are the main means of seed dispersal as they eat the fruit and disperse the seeds several kilometres the other animals that feed on the fruits are rabbits and foxes, which pass the seeds in their stool facilitating seed dispersal (Schoeman, Buckley, Cherry, Long & Steadman, 2010). The other means of dispersal are human activities, water, and windblown sand.Bitou Bush is spreading very fast and further into the forests and woodlands in the coastal strip as the recent mapping has shown that infestations

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preview essay on Weed Impact on Biodiversity: Bitou Bush
  • Pages: 12 (3000 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Agriculture
  • Level: Undergraduate
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