Ornamental to detrimental: The invasion of New Zealand by non-native plants

Professor Philip Hulme, Lincoln University

2018 Leonard Cockayne Lecture and RSNZ Manawatu Branch May 2018 meeting

7.30 pm Wednesday, 9 May, Palmerston North Central Library, George Street, Palmerston North

Aotearoa New Zealand has more types of non-native plants than almost anywhere in the world. Our great botanist Leonard Cockayne (1855-1934) believed that such non-natives would never pose a threat to our native flora. Yet today, many of these introduced species are causing significant economic and environmental costs, with all signs pointing to this problem growing in the future.

Professor Philip Hulme, recipient of the 2017 Leonard Cockayne Lecture Award, will explore the history of plant invasions in New Zealand and examine the underlying causes and potential future trends. Some of these invasive plants have been introduced as commercial crops, such as pine and pasture grasses, while others have arrived as ornamentals from around the world. Cockayne himself introduced thousands of non-native plants to his property in Christchurch.

Although new imports are screened at the border for signs of invasive behaviour, New Zealand faces a threat from the 30,000 or so varieties already grown here in our gardens, though sometimes it takes up to 100 years before these invaders jump the garden fence and become a problem.

So what are the tools available to control these current and future threats? Philip looks at the role of botanic gardens in both the spread and management of invasive weeds, and consider how both the government and public can be more effective in preventing and controlling the plant invaders.

All warmly welcome!

This is a free public lecture, but seat reservations are recommended. To reserve a seat, please go to: https://royalsociety.org.nz/events/ornamental-to-detrimental-palmerston-north/