28 Jul 2021
Lantana (Lantana camara) is a large flowering plant, native to Central and South America that was introduced to Australia as an ornamental garden plant around 1841. Today, this plant is an invasive weed in many bushland areas and thanks to the small black berries that are so attractive to birds (who then spread it), lantana is constantly turning up in the bush.
Where it is present in large volumes, lantana becomes important to fauna such as small birds as protective cover. Thanks to its sprawling structure, small birds can hide from larger, more aggressive species. This means that in order to minimse impacts on these animals, large stands of lantana should not be removed all in one go. New lantana seedlings are always removed during weed sweeps at the Park before they reach one metre squared as this size is considered as the start of habitat.
At Sydney Olympic Park, lantana was present in large areas of the Brickpit and the surrounds of Triangle Pond. Triangle Pond is a large wetland sandwiched between Wentworth Common and the Waterbird Refuge. The last stand of lantana was removed from the Brickpit in 2020 after 14 years of gradual staged work. Now attention has moved to Triangle Pond and the last stand of mature lantana in the Park. In July, 50% of the stand was removed and placed in windrows. Windrows form windbreaks in the newly opened area and provide places for birds, frogs and reptiles to shelter.
As soon as the lantana was cleared, native plants were installed. These new plants include a mix of shrubs and groundcovers including Acacias spp, Hakea spp., Indigofera australis, Kunzea ambigua and Pomaderris spp, and grasses such as Dianella cearulea, Austrostipa spp., Microlaena stipoides, Themada australis, and Einadia sp. This rich mix will provide food and shelter for all kinds of fauna.
The next stage of the program will take place after this new planting is maturing and providing habitat before more lantana is removed.
Lantana removal in progress at Triangle Pond
|The lantana has been cut and piled into windrows and each white container shelters a native plant||
This small Silvereye is using lantana for both food and shelter © Bryan Rayne