Hypericum perforatum

St John's Wort at Mount Majura

Hypericum perforatum at Mount Majura - 11 Dec 2021
Hypericum perforatum at Mount Majura - 11 Dec 2021
Hypericum perforatum at Mount Majura - 11 Dec 2021
Hypericum perforatum at Mount Majura - 11 Dec 2021
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Identification history

Hypericum perforatum 13 Dec 2021 Tapirlord
Hypericum perforatum 13 Dec 2021 MAX
Unidentified 13 Dec 2021 MAX

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Significant sighting

michaelb noted:

5 Feb 2024

In this sighting Max is showing the extensive spread of SJW on Mt Majura. It is a highly invasive weed creating problems for many nature reserves and potentially a cause of biodiversity loss. See comments.

User's notes

St John's Wort Invasive Weed, the worst year on Record. In Endangered Yellow Box/ Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodlands. Urgent Need for Contractors to help control / spray with Herbicide, on some affected areas. This Job is NOT Manageable for Volunteers. We have requested for assistance from ACT Parkcare for several years but this seems to have fallen on Deaf ears ?? Now St John's Wort Chickens have come home to roost. Why has No Funding been allocated and organised as yet, from recent Extra ACT Weed Control Budget (of several million dollars) ?? This lack of ANY apparent action / effort from ACT Government Services is Very REGRETTABLE ! Lots of noises / nice words about valuing Local ACT BIODIVERSITY but precious little action has been taken with respect to Weed Control by HIGHLY INVASIVE Weed Species. Action is Needed Please... Not mere words of Good Intentions.

30 comments

michaelb wrote:
   20 Jan 2024
Hi Max. Has the situation improved since 2021?
waltraud wrote:
   20 Jan 2024
No, in terms of new growth. FoMM received a grant to help with control this season - in my view too late. With one active sprayer in our group and no help for decades from the land manager, StJW got totally out of control. The amount of seeds that have been added to the soil seed bank in the past three seasons including at FoMMs project site east of the Fair (https://majura.org/progress-the-fair/) is truly devastating. We could only hand-weed selected high conservation sites. I consider that we lost much of the ground we thought we gained in the past 10 years...
michaelb wrote:
   21 Jan 2024
It is running amuck on Tuggeranong Hill as well, see this sighting - Hypericum perforatum (St John's Wort)
waltraud wrote:
   21 Jan 2024
that's nothing to what we have at some sites at the lower slope of Mt Majura (as well as sites on Mt Ainslie) but let's not enter a competition reg who has the greatest crop. I heard from other Parkcare groups devastating reports. I think we have to work with the Government to work on long term strategies to reduce this awful weed at least in critically endangered grassy ecosystems and areas that border those. PCS seems to do some in-house control at Mulligans Flat and Goorooyaroo reserves.
michaelb wrote:
   22 Jan 2024
It would be useful to put some more landscape photos on CNM to show the dramatic extent to which StJW is affecting Mt Majura and other nature reserves, like this ones from @HelenCross :-
Hypericum perforatum (St John's Wort) and the one of mine mentioned above.
waltraud wrote:
   22 Jan 2024
I haven't thought about taking landscape photos for CNM.... The photos I took in the past 10 years I sent to Parks Service to document the problem and request help. With one exception I never got a reply: one of the gap-filling rangers suggested that StJW comes and goes. The only "things" that come and go are rangers; this frequent changeover helps to keep a happy ignorance about what lies in the soil.
MAX wrote:
   22 Jan 2024
Hi All, Just logged in.Currently in NZ. Have read the stream of comments. Unfortunately I'm largely in agreement with various observations. St John's wort is Not being managed in a way to reduce the widespread and large scale infestation at Mt Majura and elsewhere in the ACT. It has shown itself to be a very invasive and aggressive perennial weed which survives very well in a range of habitats. My estimation is that the infestations are now out of control and will need long-term coordinated strategy from multiple agencies. Both the rhizomes and seeds are very persistent, remaining viable for many years. Slow, gradual, persistent containment strategies. Elimination is probably no longer an option. Regards Max.
michaelb wrote:
   22 Jan 2024
Waltraud, I am hoping to create a body of visual evidence that shows the damage being done by StJW. So if you or someone else from your group is able to put up some landscape photos on CNM that would help. If you care to look at the new ACT Weeds Manual page 74, it classifies StJW as "Environmental impact: Moderate, Risk Priority: Medium-high". I and other members of FOG think it should be classified as the same as Serrated Tussock, "Environmental impact: Massive. A transformer species. Risk Priority: Very High". CC @VeraKurz @HelenCross @brunonia @trevorpreston .
michaelb wrote:
   22 Jan 2024
PS to above comment, CC @MatthewFrawley
RogerF wrote:
   22 Jan 2024
The problem with controlling SJW is that the recommended chemicals also eliminate any native broadleaved plants growing beneath them leaving a grass-dominated landscape.
QPLRC has also given up on control of SJW and does not enforce landholders to control it. Council can hardly preosecute landholders when it does nothing to curb the spread along roadsides that then invade adjacent properties. One of the worst infestations is in the Googong catchment but managed by ACT. Grazing has been withdrawn and there is a clear demarcation between adjacent grazed holdings (no or little SJW) and the catchment (solid SJW).
More research on biological control is needed as well as the use of domestic stock to crash graze before flowering rather than reliance on chemicals that will never suceed..
waltraud wrote:
   30 Jan 2024
I will continue this necessary conversation with photos and comments once I finished spraying StJW with Starane (when it is too late to use it). Meanwhile just a couple of things:
see impact on native / grassy ecosystems https://nre.tas.gov.au/Documents/stjohnwort_CRC_bpmg.pdf
There are other documents and studies, most however deal with agriculture crop not with impact on native crop. My concern is the impact of StJW - which I consider a woody weed with ability to sucker and sucker heavily - on native grassy ecosystems.
I think crash graze is not an option for most nature reserves / parts of nature reserves and I doubt that farmers would expose their stock to massive StJW growth and toxins. Farmers who have a StJW problem boom spray open paddocks with Grazon, they might be not necessarily interested in plants other than grasses and thus paddocks may end up - well - with a good pasture (grass) cover.
More to come.
cc
michaelb
RogerF
MatthewFrawley
michaelb wrote:
   31 Jan 2024
Thanks for your comments Waltraud. As Roger says, spraying SJW can eliminate the forbs that grow beneath it. But leaving the weed to flourish, as it has been the case in recent years, means the spread is greater & greater, and over time it gets thicker & denser in its growth and so many natives just die out, especially the more delicate ones such as orchids, lilies and some forbs. So we are stuck between a rock & a hard place. The quality of our nature reserves, and in particular our grassy woodlands, are deteriorating over time. SJW is a biodiversity disaster. It needs to be given a higher environmental impact rating than moderate and a risk priority of medium-high. I agree that more research is necessary to find an effective way of dealing with it. CC @VeraKurz
michaelb wrote:
   31 Jan 2024
Also see recent sightings showing photos of the spread of SJW on a landscape scale: Hypericum perforatum
CC @HelenCross
VeraKurz wrote:
   1 Feb 2024
I think the environmental impact rating should probably go up, but personally I still would not have it in the same category as ALG or ST, because I see those completely dominating the landscapes they take over, with nothing but some trees in between. I will be interested to see how the biosecurity team responds. The question is, would changing the rating improve our collective response. In a way it's like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. I'm not sure that broad scale spraying in our reserves is a good idea. It is also not practical, because the competition for contractors all at the same time for the priority weeds means that not all targeted areas can be treated in a timely way. As everyone knows, it is a very persistent weed and hard to treat. I have allocated a small experimental patch of about a hectare, and it's looking pretty good SJW-wise, but it's also a fair bit of work and follow up, so not practical at a larger scale. I think it could be worth looking at a crash grazing like intervention, such as slashing with a brush-cutter. Obviously there is some collateral damage with that as well. We also really need to work in conjunction with the land managers and have detailed plans in place about which areas we treat, and how, and plans for follow up every year.
MAX wrote:
   1 Feb 2024
Hi All, Many Thanks for all your amazing feedback and expertise, above and beyond my original expectations when posting my images on 13 Dec 2021, now with renewed interest from multiple sources. The Big lesson for me (personally) remains in the Inadequacy of our overall Biosecurity management of (potentially) invasive problem species at the outset. Once you've got them creeping up on you and becoming established, we've largely got them for keeps, despite our best (and expensive) control efforts. My takeaway remains as : Prevention is far more preferable than trying to control / fix an invasive species problem. I really feel that this requires a Major reset and Rethink at all State and Federal levels to prevent / nip in the bud the incursion of ANY non Endemic species, and Taking a Long Term perspective. After 200 odd years we are only now starting to learn this very hard lesson. We need Tough Legislation and Enforcement at the Front End, not Ambulance at bottom of the cliff approach, as we currently seem to be engaged in ?? We're in this together, no intention to be any kind of smart Aleck here...🙃
MAX wrote:
   1 Feb 2024
Updated our Site photos above, as of yesterday, to show our Volunteers battling away at removing St John’s Wort from our Experimental Seed Nodes at the Fair Mt Majura NaturePark, showing growth inside and outside (control) seed nodes. Make your own conclusions please...🙂
waltraud wrote:
   2 Feb 2024
hi Vera VeraKurz
cc
michaelb
RogerF
MatthewFrawley
Most CNP nature reserves are unsuitable for stock grazing. There is some stock grazing (particularly Phalaris aquatica) to reduce biomass at lower slopes of Mulligans Flat and Goorooyarroo reserves. But to my knowledge there is no stock grazing to reduce StJW in any of the CNP reserves. In addition I don't think a farmer would stock on a dense StJW crop such as Max' photos show or that are shown at any of the landscape photos by HelenCross and others.
Also since 2 years Parkcare volunteers are not permitted to use brush cutters even though some groups have their own, used them safely and maintained them since decades when some PCS rangers were still toddlers.
Persistence and long term management plans taking into account up to 30 years viability of StJW seeds in the soil seed bank (according to some studies), resources and commitment to implement plans are most important; for instance a management goal could be to reduce the spread of StJW and contain in StJW-favoring growing seasons. Unfortunately, government agencies seemed to have dropped the ball and leave management of StJW to volunteers (except of course in Offsets and Mulligans where in-house control happens). I have been asking PCS for a StJW management plan for the north part of Mt Majura nature reserve with high conservation values for 12 years now when I did my first monitoring in that area. I had a single reply to my requests years ago from a gap-filling ranger: "StJW comes and goes". We see it only coming!
Reg grazing and the limitations due to the toxin hypericin, see the following extract from https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/193075/St-Johns-wort.pdf

"For example, in spring the broad-leaf strain was
continously grazed. In early January, regrowth
contained hypericin at 350 ppm. St John’s wort which
was not continuously grazed during spring contained
1400 ppm of hypericin.
effects on livestock
On sunny days, livestock grazing on pastures heavily
infested with flowering St John’s wort can develop
clinical signs of hypericin poisoning in less than
five hours.
Early symptoms of hypericin poisoning include
agitation, head-rubbing, intermittent hind limb weakness
with knuckling over, panting, confusion and depression.
Some animals may develop mild diarrhoea.
This is followed by inflammation and swelling of the
skin around the forehead and eyes. Affected animals
also have abnormally high body temperatures
(hyperthermia).
If affected animals continue to graze St John’s wort,
the reddish inflammation and fluid-associated swelling
of the head and ears will worsen.
Affected animals will then rub their irritated heads
or ears against fixed objects. Raw, weeping, bleeding
areas of skin will develop, and eventually dry to
form scabs. ..."
VeraKurz wrote:
   2 Feb 2024
Just a quick note on brush-cutters - I gather we will be able to use power tools, hopefully including brush-cutters, some time very soon.
abread111 wrote:
   10 Mar 2024
The assessment of StJW as having Environmental impact: Moderate, Risk Priority: Medium-high is based on the Downey spreadsheet for which assessed 683 alien plant species - the version I am looking at is dated 18 May 2022. The assessment notes say
"1. assessment based on White et al (2018) - typically significant, and Downey et al (2010) - medium priority, and WRM for this species - manage weed, 2. the area of suitable habitat and the habitat suitability of observations, for this species, are projected to decrease or remain the same based on mapping see weed futures, 3. species of grasslands, forest margins and disturbed sites, pastures, roadsides, railways, nature strips, open woodlands, bushland, river banks and waste areas, open sites, 4. extensive records on CNM (103) and Atlas (~320), 5. extensive records at higher altitudes, 6. one plant species threatened in NSW (see Coutts-Smith & Downey 2006), 7. a very widespread species, that is difficult to control due to suckering roost system - biocontrol agent released but not achieving high levels of damage, 8. spread would be infilling, 9. Note: no subsp. on weedfutures, PlantNet - a note on the Hypericum perforatum states it is a recognised subsp but not information, CNM, Downey et al (2010), and Coutts-Snith & Downey (2006), weeds of Australia website considers this subsp. a syn. - thus assessment based on the species only - not subsp."
The projected area decreasing or remaining static has not come to pass as seen in the above discussion.
This Assessment guides the PCS Invasive Plants Operations Plan 2020-25 which also defines transformers as
"A subset of invasive plants which change the character, condition, form or nature of ecosystems over a substantial area relative to the extent of that ecosystem"
I think this means StJW should be considered a transformer and accorded higher priority for management, at least in Grassy-Box Woodlands.
However if you look at the current dashboard on weed control activities https://actgov.maps.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/6f505dbd0123454bafc80edbdfcd3f05
StJW is the top of the species list for area treated.
Other management strategies need to be considered, eg Green Machine mowing as an alternate to whipper-snippers and grazing in some circumstances. Recognition of need for repeated timely follow up when an area is treated.
The status of StJW should be on the agenda for the Invasive Plants Working Group meeting on 4 April.
MAX wrote:
   10 Mar 2024
Thanks Barb, That is All really useful Info for us to know about in our continuing Long Term BATTLE with St John’s Wort. My feeling based on many personal observations / several years of Weeding this species, is that St John’s Wort should be rated as HIGH Environmental Impact and also. HIGH Risk Priority. 😊
waltraud wrote:
   10 Mar 2024
From memory, Downey classifies StJW as a shrub; I always considered StJW with its lateral underground stems a woody weed; on the other side it "behaves" like an annual herb producing huge amounts of seeds per fruiting plant which makes it a super (efficient) weed. The question in terms of environmental risk is whether the significant spread and increasing density we observe suppresses and threatens native species and changes a grassy woodland into a StJW woodland.
michaelb wrote:
   17 Mar 2024
Hi All. I am going to raise this issue at the FOG AGM next Wednesday, and hopefully get some support for following this up. Hi @brunonia and @AndyRoo - to follow this discussion further, just add a comment to this sighting and you will get an email notification when someone places a new comment.
waltraud wrote:
   17 Mar 2024
FOG rep in the April Invasive plant forum: please suggest to raise the risk score of StJW.
brunonia wrote:
   17 Mar 2024
Thanks Michaelb. Waltraud has agreed to a May FOG activity at Mt Majura with Wort as the theme. We shall pursue many aspects, methods, experiments, etc.
michaelb wrote:
   18 Mar 2024
Thanks Waltraud. It would also be useful for FOG members to have an informal visit to Urambi Hills to see what our reserves might look like in 10 or 20 or 30 years time if the wort is not brought under control. Start from the entrance at Meredith Circuit, Kambah and walk to the hill top.
VeraKurz wrote:
   18 Mar 2024
I will be interested to learn about any outcomes or recommendations for both the risk rating and possible combined treatment options so that I can include them in the ACT Weeds Manual at review time.
michaelb wrote:
   18 Mar 2024
Thanks Vera
waltraud wrote:
   18 Mar 2024
Hi VeraKurz
Integrated management is always a good idea - limitations apply. My suggestion is and has been for over a decade to start with a StJW management plan for each reserve - or even better each major site (which has to be defined) because of the variety of soils, past management history, existing ground layer, etc, etc, which may result in great differences of StJW prevalence. A management plan for individual sites would be also super important to choose the right management tool/s for identified high conservation sites (which would be my starting point if I were the land manager).
The time frame is most important too: all agencies involved in natural resource management must accept that it is not a matter of one financial year but of decades.
The last 2 years or so were good seasons for monitoring StJW. Unfortunately, FoMM missed the opportunity to map the StJW spread on Mt Majura because of our focus on certain projects; volunteers find it hard invest time to monitor invasive species, if there is no prospect of follow-up treatment. Again, a long term management plan would help.
abread111
michaelb
michaelb wrote:
   27 Mar 2024
Hi everyone. I have added a sighting from Urambi Hills which shows the transformation which has occurred to a portion of the hill since 25 April 2016 until now, dated 24 March 2024. The hill was dominated by an abundance of the native grass Bothriochloa macra. After a mere 8 years the native grass is a sub-story plant and the hill is dominated by SJW. See sightings 3343278 - Bothriochloa macra (Red Grass, Red-leg Grass) and 4562853 - Hypericum perforatum (St John's Wort)
abread111 wrote:
   27 Mar 2024
Very scary indeed - has certainly transformed this Urambi Hills site.

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Nearby sightings

Page 1 of 2 - image sightings only

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Nassella trichotoma (Serrated Tussock) at Watson, ACT - 24 Jul 2023 by waltraud
Nassella trichotoma (Serrated Tussock) at Watson, ACT - 24 Jul 2023 by waltraud
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Nassella trichotoma (Serrated Tussock) at Watson, ACT - 30 May 2023 by waltraud
Nassella trichotoma (Serrated Tussock) at Watson, ACT - 30 May 2023 by waltraud
Nassella trichotoma (Serrated Tussock) at Watson, ACT - 30 May 2023 by waltraud
Nassella neesiana (Chilean Needlegrass) at Watson, ACT - 3 Dec 2022 by waltraud
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Egernia cunninghami (Cunningham's Skink) at Watson, ACT - 8 Feb 2022 by waltraud
Cupressus arizonica (Arizona Cypress) at Watson, ACT - 7 Feb 2022 by waltraud
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Dimorphotheca ecklonis (African Daisy) at Watson, ACT - 6 Feb 2022 by MAX
Arthropodium fimbriatum (Nodding Chocolate Lily) at Watson, ACT - 19 Dec 2021 by WalterEgo
Leucochrysum albicans subsp. tricolor (Hoary Sunray) at Watson, ACT - 13 Dec 2021 by waltraud
Goodenia pinnatifida (Scrambled Eggs) at Watson, ACT - 13 Dec 2021 by waltraud
Nassella trichotoma (Serrated Tussock) at Watson, ACT - 18 Nov 2021 by waltraud
Porrostoma rhipidium (Long-nosed Lycid (Net-winged) beetle) at Watson, ACT - 31 Oct 2021 by abread111
Chrysolina quadrigemina (Greater St Johns Wort beetle) at Watson, ACT - 31 Oct 2021 by abread111
Chrysocephalum semipapposum (Clustered Everlasting) at Watson, ACT - 12 Sep 2021 by MAX
Acacia paradoxa (Kangaroo Thorn) at Watson, ACT - 12 Sep 2021 by MAX
Acacia paradoxa (Kangaroo Thorn) at Watson, ACT - 25 Aug 2021 by abread111
Neosparassus sp. (genus) (Unidentified Badge huntsman) at Majura, ACT - 19 Jul 2021 by WalterEgo
Vittadinia muelleri (Narrow-leafed New Holland Daisy) at Majura, ACT - 21 Feb 2021 by waltraud
Leucochrysum albicans subsp. tricolor (Hoary Sunray) at Watson, ACT - 8 Feb 2021 by waltraud
Leucochrysum albicans subsp. tricolor (Hoary Sunray) at Watson, ACT - 8 Feb 2021 by waltraud
Lythrum hyssopifolia (Small Loosestrife) at Watson, ACT - 20 Jan 2021 by MAX
Nassella neesiana (Chilean Needlegrass) at Watson, ACT - 9 Jan 2021 by waltraud
Geranium sp. Pleated sepals (D.E.Albrecht 4707) Vic. Herbarium at Watson, ACT - 31 Dec 2020 by abread111
Geranium potentilloides (Soft Crane's-bill) at Watson, ACT - 31 Dec 2020 by abread111
Themeda triandra (Kangaroo Grass) at Watson, ACT - 9 Dec 2020 by waltraud
Geranium sp. Pleated sepals (D.E.Albrecht 4707) Vic. Herbarium at Watson, ACT - 9 Dec 2020 by waltraud
Verbascum virgatum (Green Mullein) at Watson, ACT - 8 Dec 2020 by abread111
Hypericum perforatum (St John's Wort) at Watson, ACT - 20 Sep 2020 by Lisa.Jok
Leucochrysum albicans (Hoary Sunray) at Watson, ACT - 20 Sep 2020 by Lisa.Jok
Stackhousia monogyna (Creamy Candles) at Watson, ACT - 13 Sep 2020 by Kristi
Wurmbea dioica subsp. dioica (Early Nancy) at Majura, ACT - 13 Sep 2020 by Kristi
Chrysocephalum semipapposum (Clustered Everlasting) at Watson, ACT - 13 Sep 2020 by Kristi

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