Landcare is a non-governmental community movement dedicated to preventing land degradation and achieving sustainable land management. It consists of a network of local volunteer groups of which there are over 1700 in New South Wales alone. Each group works to find local solutions to local problems such as salinity, soil degradation, animal pests, weeds, vegetation loss, waterside erosion, poor water quality, coastal degradation and urban land degradation. If you appreciate how lucky we are in the Helensburgh district to enjoy a relatively unspoiled bush environment you should also be aware that it is under serious threat. read more

Saturday 20 March 2021


 Moth vine, (Araujia sericifera)

Moth vine comes from South America. It has attractive white flowers which are followed by a fruit which is often mistaken for a choko. The fruit has pale, dull green skin which dries out and splits to reveal numerous seeds which are black with a tuft of white hairs 2-3 cm long. Moth vine is fairly common in gardens and neighbouring bushland and weedy areas around Helensburgh.

It is an invader of bushland as the seed is dispersed by wind and water. It climbs through vegetation and the heavy weight of fruiting vines can break limbs and bring down weaker shrubs and trees. Dense growth smothers smaller vegetation and impedes over-storey regeneration.

The leaves, stems, fruit and possibly seeds contain toxins which affect the gastrointestinal tract and central nervous system. It is reported that some variants may also contain toxins that affect the heart. When damaged, an irritating milky sap leaks from the plant.


Horses, cattle, and birds have been poisoned by the Moth Vine and there are anecdotal reports of small animals such as dogs being affected after eating the plant. Symptoms of poisoning may include vomiting (in animals that can vomit), diarrhoea, refusal to eat, unsteadiness on the feet and potentially seizures.

Where moth vine is climbing up through garden plants, it is best to remove any fruit and then cut the stem near the ground. Dig out the roots. Seedlings and small plants can be hand-pulled or dug out. 

Moth vine’s latex can be highly irritating and allergenic. Always wear gloves when handling plants and avoid getting latex in the eyes or mouth.


Grow Me Instead

Wonga wonga vine, Pandorea pandorana

This is a vigorous Australian native twining plant. One of the selected colour forms is ‘Snowbells’ which has pure white flowers.


Old man’s beard, Clematis aristata

A local native vine which flowers in spring, this species is most attractive with its masses of creamy white flowers.


Chinese star jasmine, Trachelospermum jasminoides

A hardy climber or ground cover plant with perfumed white flowers in spring. Apparently, its irritating, milky latex-like sap makes it resistant to the depredations of Australian possums.