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Bitou bush, Chrysanthemoides monilifera rotundata

Bitou bush infestation
leaf-rolling moth Tortrix sp
bitou bush tip moth, Comosotolopsis germana

Bitou bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera rotundata) is a South African native which is now rated as the worst weed in the Australian coastal environment, restricting access to beaches and destroying native bushland.

It first found its way to Australia in 1908, dumped as ballast from ships on the banks of the Hunter River. Between 1946 and 1968, it was deliberately planted by the Soil Conservation Service of NSW for soil and dune stabilisation along the eastern coast of Australia.

Bitou bush currently infests coastal areas of southern Queensland, New South Wales and Lord Howe Island. It infests 900 km (80%) of the NSW coast and is the dominant coastal plant on 400 of those kilometres.

Eight insects have been released in Australia, with the most recent, the leaf-rolling moth Tortrix sp., being the most promising.

The bitou bush tip moth, Comosotolopsis germana (feeds in stem tips) and the bitou bush seed fly, Mesoclanis polana, (larvae feed on developing seed) are both now widely established.


Supported by: Natural Heritage Trust, Cooperative Research Centre for Australian Weed Management, NSW Agriculture

bitou bush seed fly, Mesoclanis polana