Artist sees red over invasive weed

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Kashmir Rouw says residents need to act on an invasive weed species many think is a native flower.
Camera IconKashmir Rouw says residents need to act on an invasive weed species many think is a native flower. Credit: Warren Hately

Margaret River man Kashmir Rouw wants keen-eyed residents to join him fighting one of the region’s lesser known noxious pests.

The stonemason and artist told the Times he recently realised the red valerian centranthus ruber was on the march across the region, and within the Margaret River townsite, with many infesting yards and some people unaware the pretty weed is not a native flower.

While people knew arum lily was a toxic threat, Mr Rouw said he wanted to organise a volunteer group so residents could band together and extinguish the rampant tuber.

“I was concerned to see it taking over my front-verge garden and making its way down the street within a couple years of it first popping up in the garden,” he said.

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“The seeds are spread on the wind with a fan like structure.

“It is very opportunistic and fast coloniser of most habitats and the conditions here are perfect for it.

“Once it gets established, it will be very difficult to remove from our landscape in town or on the river.”

He was disturbed to see beds of the weed choking native species.

Nature Conservation Margaret River Region chief executive Caroline Hughes said the pest was on its radar.

“Red valerian is an environmental weed of concern, but currently not one which is on our list of priority weeds from a regional perspective,” she said.

The group praised Mr Rouw for his early action and promised to support volunteer efforts.

To help fight the weed, contact Mr Rouw on 0438 688 855 or search for Margaret River Wilderness and Weeds on Facebook.

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