Durban Early Detection and Rapid Response

Mauritius Hemp Furcraea foetida

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Common Name
Mauritius Hemp
Emerging Weed

This evergreen perennial herb is part of the Agavaceae family and has its origins in South America. The Mauritius Hemp has a short stem up to 1m tall and leaves that are sword-shaped and which can reach between 1-1.8m long and 10-15cm broad at the widest point. The leaf narrows to a sharp spine tip at the apex and the margins are entire, or with a few hooked spines. The flowers are greenish-white, are strongly scented and are visible all year round. This plant forms dense, impenetrable stands which are effective at excluding native vegetation. It spreads by seed and by its stem suckers.

Why is it a problem?
It competes with, and has the potential to replace, indigenous species.
Control method
There is still much to be understood about Mauritius Hemp, but for the moment mechanical and chemical clearing seems sufficient. Mechanically, leaves must be damaged by slashing. Herbicides can be used on cut-stumps.
Where is it a problem?
The plants currently occur in KZN, Western Cape and Mpumalanga.

Identifying other species

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