Shire of Harvey delivers action on arum lily

The Shire of Harvey has responded to a community call for action by controlling arum lily in James Rodgers Reserve in Leschenault. The Reserve holds significance in the history of European settlement of the region.

In 2020 the Shire invested $30,000 to control arum lily along a seven kilometer stretch of the Reserve. Oversight of the project was provided by the Shire’s environmental officer, Samantha Pickering, who noted that there were some challenges with the site.

‘The Shire of Harvey responded to community reports of arum lily along a bridal trail in Leschenault between Cathedral Avenue and Australind Road. Due to the size of the reserve and the characteristics of the site we decided to go with a contractor that was able to spray the weeds from a motorbike,’ she said.

The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group has also been in the area looking at the extent of the arum lily problem. The group recently met with a local landholder to discuss nearby gardens that included arum lily.

Ms Teele Hooper-Worrell explained that the dark green leaves and white flower can make the arum lily a popular garden plant. However, its weediness and detrimental impacts to surrounding landholders and the environment should not be overlooked or diminished in any way.

‘Propagating a declared pest can make your garden stand out for all the wrong reasons’, she said.The PHBG will be reaching out to property owners in the new year to remind them of their legal responsibility to manage the declared weed, and offering support for timely and effective control options at a property level.

The Shire of Harvey welcomes the PHBG initiative. Ms Pickering said that, ‘Having the PHBG run an engagement program in the Leschenault area that focuses on arum lily control will build on the investment the Shire has made in the area’.

The PHBG will also be running their popular Weed ID and Advice Workshops in Harvey in early 2021. These workshops come highly recommended. The 2020 workshop had 70 attendees who brought in over 150 samples to identify and discuss.

Extra information

Arum lily is a toxic plant that takes over prime summer growing land in agricultural areas. It forms a thick understorey in bushland and prevents seedling establishment. An infestation can dramatically change the composition of natural ecosystems, and significantly alter the aesthetics of an area.

Arum lily is also known as the death lily due to its popularity as a funeral bloom - fitting as stock can die from grazing on it and it is also known to cause eczema.