Although these flower-looking weeds add for a great addition to any picture and make up a really nice composition for any photographer who may be taking pictures of a majestic rhinoceros or sleeping lion, these “Pom-Pom flowers” are in fact a very invasive species that are a major threat to our grasslands.
The pompom weed (Campuloclinium macrocephalum) is actually native to South America and has been spreading here in our reserve like wildfire. Like a daisy, these plants can spread their seeds by air, water, or by other natural procedures. As we have learned throughout our training, any invasive species is a threat to our ecosystem and could be detrimental to the environment that we are lucky enough to enjoy every day. The reason for this being, is that these invasive species get brought in to our ecosystem and then spread rapidly. They will often out-perform the indigenous species of vegetation and take up the nutrients in the soil, soak up the water table, and basically choke out the things that should be growing here naturally. The other problem with invasive species is that most of the times, the animals do not feed on this vegetation. So, the plant is left to spread and take over as it pleases and really becomes a problem to our natural environment. It is up to us to help mitigate the amount of invasive species we have that so easily spread across our grasslands.
Control the spreading of intruders
To help control the spreading of these intruders, there are a few different methods of removal, but first it is important to have a healthy and productive natural vegetation.
If the natural vegetation is healthy and leaves no room for other plants to grow, invasive species such as the Pom-Poms struggle to find ground to grow on and therefore spread more slowly.
Control the spread
On top of this we can help control the spread of the pom-poms either with chemicals, physically, by use of fire, or biologically. It’s up to us to find the best and most effective method that has the least amount of stress on the environment, and reduces the amount of spreading that this plant can do.
With some more research we will continue our environmental efforts to remove these plants as much as possible and further prevent them from invading our ecosystem.
Written by Erik / Jan / Kelvin
Photo credits: @jan__wilke