14 Jan Wild watsonia
Watsonia meriana var. bulbillifera
Once widely, but now rarely, planted as an ornamental. Major environmental weed of disturbed bushland and roadsides, particularly near water. Serious weed in W.A., S.A., Vic and N.S.W.
Origin: South Africa
Habit: Erect perennial herb to 2m.
Leaves: Basal linear/Sword-shaped leaves up to 0.6m long with distinct midrib are arranged in a fan-like formation. Above ground parts dieback to underground corm each autumn.
Flowers: Curved trumpet shaped salmon pink to Orange red flowers formed solitary in spike inflorescences on tall reddish unbranched stems. Spring-Summer.
Fruit: No seed set, but small bulbils are produced in clusters of up to 16 along the stem below the flowers.
Roots: Globular corm. 1-3 new corms produced each growing season.
Dispersal: Roots, bulbils and corms spread by water, humans, contaminated soil (earthmoving equipment, car tyres etc) and garden refuse dumping.
Control: Difficult. Hand pull/dig, ensuring all corms are removed. Extensive follow-up required. Remove and bag all bulbils. Foliar sprays available.