Boneseed

Boneseed is a woody, erect shrub and can have an effect on native vegetation.

Common name:

  • Boneseed

Scientific name:

Chrysanthemoides monilifera (L.) Norl.

Other common name:

  • Bitou bush

Plant status

Catchment management authority boundaries

Catchment management authority boundaries

Regionally prohibited in the North Central, North East and East Gippsland catchment

Regionally controlled in the Mallee, Wimmera, Glenelg Hopkins, Corangamite, Goulburn Broken, West Gippsland, Port Phillip and Western Port catchments

Restricted in no areas in Victoria

Plant biology

Appearance

Shrub or bush.

Man standing in front of yellow flowering Boneseed shrub

Description

Boneseed is a woody, erect shrub growing to a height of 2 to 3m and 2 to 6m wide.

Stems

Stems are brown and hard, branching above ground level.

Leaves

Leaves are alternately arranged and oval-shaped with a tapering base and irregularly toothed margins. They are green in colour, 2 to 8cm long with thin blades.

Boneseed seedlings

Flowers

Flowers are bright yellow and daisy-like with 5 to 8 petals. Flowers are formed in late winter and spring, from August to October.

Fruit

Fruit of boneseed is globular, 6 to 8mm in diameter and light brown when dry. Seeds usually fall in January or February.

The plant bears fruit from spring through to autumn.

Growth and lifecycle

Black berries of Boneseed fruit

Method of reproduction and dispersal

Boneseed is spread by seed only. Germination is promoted by fire, soil disturbance, weathering and ingestion of seeds by animals. Most seed is dispersed by animals such as foxes and birds or through water. Seeds may also be spread in soil stuck to vehicles and equipment.

Black berries of Boneseed fruit

Rate of growth and spread

Boneseed flowers within 2 to 3 years in open areas. However, flowering can occur within 12 months after a fire. Growth is rapid, particularly in winter, and can invade both disturbed and undisturbed sites.

Seedbank propagule

Boneseed is a prolific seeder and mature boneseed plants can produce up to 50,000 seeds per plant. The seedbank for boneseed can remain viable for at least 10 years.

Preferred habitat

Boneseed is not restricted by climate, but prefers sandy or medium-textured soils and disturbed situations. It is well adapted to fire, responding more rapidly than native species, even to low intensity fire.

Young growth is sensitive to frost, but plants are rarely killed.

Boneseed will not tolerate waterlogged soil or prolonged drought.

Distribution

Boneseed can be found throughout south-eastern Australia and coastal New South Wales, where it is widespread, mostly as scattered plants or small populations.

Growth calendar

The icons on the following table represent the times of year for flowering, seeding, germination, the dormancy period of boneseed and also the optimum time for treatment.

 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Flowering      Flowering iconFlowering iconFlowering iconFlowering icon 
SeedingSeeding iconSeeding icon         Seedling Stage
Germination  Germination iconGermination iconGermination icon       
Dormancy            
Treatment     Treatment iconTreatment iconTreatment iconTreatment iconTreatment icon  

Impact

Impact on ecosystems and waterways

Boneseed impacts on native vegetation and can reduce the biodiversity values of bushland areas.

Dense infestations of boneseed can virtually eliminate native understorey species and reduce the regeneration abilities of native trees and shrubs. Its presence can also severely impact on several coastal plant communities.

The weed may negatively affect wildlife through the displacement of essential food plants.

Management

Prescribed measures for the control of noxious weeds:

  • application of a registered herbicide
  • physical removal.

Read more about prescribed measures for the control of noxious weeds.

Other management techniques

Changes in land use practices and spread prevention may also support boneseed management after implementing the prescribed measures.

Page last updated: 24 Nov 2020