Chrysanthemoides monilifera subsp. monilifera
boneseed, bitou bush
Vascular – Exotic
Trees & Shrubs - Dicotyledons
Terrestrial. mainly coastal areas, coastal cliffs, inshore islands, dry shrublands, shrubland margins, consolidated sand dunes, gumlands, roadsides, quarries, wastelands, exotic plantations and a threat to offshore islands.
Bushy, semi-woody, much branched shrub or small tree to 2-3 m. Young stems ribbed and woolly, becoming smooth. Leaves alternate, smooth, leathery, entire, 70 x 35 mm, margins irregularly toothed. Bright yellow daisy-like flowers, 25-30 mm diam, Sep-Feb. Fruit an oval green drupe, 6-9 mm, hard with thin fleshy covering, turning black, with very hard seed.
The other subspecies (C. monilifera subsp. rotundata) is very weedy in Australia, but not known to be present in NZ. It has a more prostrate habit, has rounder leaves, and the flowers have more than 12 petals. Foliage is superficially similar to Dimorphotheca (Osteospermum fruticosum) but the habit and flowers of these plants are very different.
September, October, November, December, January, February
S.W. Cape area, South Africa
monilifera: From the Latin monilis ‘necklace’ or ‘collar’ and ferre ‘to bear’
Reason For Introduction
Life Cycle Comments
Perennial. Suspected seed bank viability extensive because seed is covered in hard coating i.e. bone-seed.
Primarily reproduces via seed but vegetative reproduction is possible if stems come into contact with the soil.
A mature bush can produce up to 50,000 seeds per year. Research indicates that 6-13% seeds remain viable after 3 yrs of burial with numbers increasing depending on depth of burial (Weiss 1984). Initially just over half the seeds are viable and can remain dormant inside the unsplit seed coat for up to 10 years.
Seed is dispersed by birds, possums, humans and mammals.
Intolerant to shade and poor drainage and tolerant to drought. Fire kills plants but assists germination of seeds and the plant is reasonably tolerant to other physical damage. It is tolerant of low soil fertility, poor soils and sand.