Green cestrum warning for central west gardeners

DANGEROUS: Local Land Services Regional Weeds Coordinator Jodie Lawler with Regional Council Team Leader for Natural Resource Des Mackey inspecting a green cestrum site. Photo: CONTRIBUTED
DANGEROUS: Local Land Services Regional Weeds Coordinator Jodie Lawler with Regional Council Team Leader for Natural Resource Des Mackey inspecting a green cestrum site. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

Local Land Services are warning about the effects of the noxious weed, green cestrum, particularly in the current drought conditions.

Local Land Services is working with councils across Central West NSW to alert people to the dangers of green cestrum, a common backyard plant.

Green cestrum (Cestrum parqui) is a priority weed in the Central West under the Biosecurity Act and highly toxic to animal species and humans.

According to NSW Weed Wise green cestrum frequently causes 'sudden death' in livestock and is highly toxic to humans, capable of causing serious illness or death.

Although cattle are the most commonly affected animals, deaths have also occurred in goats, sheep, horses, pigs and poultry

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All parts of the plant, especially the green berries, are highly toxic if ingested.

When spread from gardens it is a threat to livestock and a particular risk in the current drought conditions, said Local Land Services Regional Weeds Coordinator, Jodie Lawler.

"Green cestrum is one of the most dangerous weeds in our region, but most gardeners are unaware of the risk to their families and the wider landscape," Ms Lawler said.

"It is spread most commonly in droppings from birds that have eaten the berries and is a common weed on vacant allotments, roadsides and creek banks.

"If people have green cestrum in their backyard, they should destroy the plant and carefully dispose of it. Dead bushes will retain poison in their leaves, branches and berries."

Signs of poisoning in animals include diarrhea, abdominal pain, depression, disorientation, walking with a stagger, irritability, weakness, going off their feed, lying on the ground, and finally a period of coma or terminal convulsions.

General information on control methods can be found in the most recent edition of the annual NSW Weed Control Handbook (www.dpi.nsw.gov.au).

For more information please contact your Local Council Weeds Officer or Local Land Services.