Bluebell creeper (Sollya heterophylla)
Bluebell creeper (Sollya heterophylla )
Status: still widely promoted as a garden plant by nurseries.
A low tangled shrub or climber, which can smother other shrubs. Young stems are a reddish-brown, leaves are narrow oval and glossy. The small bell-shaped flowers hang in clusters of 2-5 on long stalks. They are usually blue, but may be pale pink or white. Fruits are cylindrical berries, 2-3cm long, ripening from green to blue-black.
Preferred habitat and impacts:
Found on forest edges close to towns. This plant is a native of West Australia, but has been widely planted in gardens since native plants became popular. It has become weedy in eastern Australia, particularly in Victoria. It can form a dense smothering mat over native shrubs.
Seed is spread by birds, or in dumped garden refuse. Dumping may also spread the plant vegetatively.
The local native apple berry (Billardiera scandens) is a closely related twining plant with yellow-green tubular flowers and a very similar cylindrical berry which ripens from green to yellow or brownish.. Apple berry is usually quite a sparse climbing plant, never a shrub.
Spraying is likely to be the easiest method of control. The plant branches from close to ground level, and these branches form roots where they touch the soil. The clump can therefore spread vegetatively to become several metres wide. Suckering from the roots will occur if the parent plant is disturbed. However, small plants may be dug out.
The plant contains toxins which can cause nausea and skin irritation, so wear gloves if handling it.