Pink gladioli are flowering

Late September and October is the time of year when the pink gladioli, Gladiolus caryophyllaceus, is flowering. While it looks pretty, don’t be fooled – this is one of our weeds.

Originating in South Africa, the pink gladiolus was introduced to Australia as a garden plant. The seeds then blew into the bush or plants were dumped when householders changed their gardens. From there they have spread to be found in all of our bushland areas.

The City of Canning has a contractor coming into the bushland over the next few weeks to spray the pink gladioli, and other bulbous weeds, with herbicide. The other bulbs to be sprayed are Watsonia, Freesia, black flag and Cape tulip. With ongoing treatment we hope to see a dramatic reduction in their numbers over the next few years.

Weeds are bad because they take food, water, space and light that could be used by the native plants. For a large part they don’t provide food for the native birds and insects, and so contribute little to the health of the ecosystem.

Bulbous weeds are particularly difficult to eradicate because of their reproductive strategy. They develop cormils (baby bulbs) attached to the parent bulb. If the parent plant is removed from the ground the cormils break off and stay in the soil. The cormils then grow into new plants and replace the parent. It doesn’t matter how many times you pull up the plant growing in the one spot, there will always be cormils waiting to grow up and replace it. The only way to kill the cormils is to poison the parent plant while the cormils are still attached to the parent bulb.

You can help keep weeds out of the bush by never dumping garden waste in our bushland – even lawn clippings. Report anyone you see dumping waste to the City of Canning’s patrol and security services on 9231 0699 (24 hours).