– Merrilee Berrisford

The New Zealand Christmas trees are now in bud. For the festive season Betty’s Bay’s public enemy number one will be cheerfully bright red and green and earn the title of Christmas Tree of the southern hemisphere. BUT what about all the seeds waiting to be blown off by the southeaster into our fertile wetlands? Already there are packed stands of NZXT’s in wet areas, especially in Sunny Seas and above the rocks beyond Jock’s Bay in the direction of Kleinmond. We have to stop and think if we want parts of Betty’s Bay to be gloomy, shaded and impenetrable with no space for our own plants and animals.


Dr Ernita van Wyk of the Biodiversity Research, Assessment and Monitoring at the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) has recognized that NZXTs are the biggest threat to the fynbos in Betty’s Bay and has already found funds corresponding to 480 person days for eradicating NZXTs here. BotSoc members, including Jan Joubert and David Bossinger, have plotted on maps the worst infestations. Ernita invites all stakeholders and interested parties to a meeting on Friday 6 January 2017, 10 am to 12 pm, with tea and biscuits – venue still to be decided. Please phone Barbara Jenman (082 338 4109) or Merrilee (082 571 3923) nearer the time. Ernita says, “The purpose of the meeting will be to present the map based on the street block survey of New Zealand Xmas Tree, as a starting point for the species management plan. Please come and participate.”