Velvetleaf was named a crop-destroying pest species during a recent Auckland Council presentation.
At the Rural Advisory Panel meeting on August 5, Velvetleaf Community Outreach spokesperson Sally Linton presented about the pest species.
“Velvetleaf could decimate the cropping sector,” Linton said.
Linton said aplant could drop 33,000 seeds and the seeds remained viable for 50 years.
“It is mechanically spread, so on farm equipment or carried on boots.”
Auckland is one of the primary locations with infestations and Linton said there are 19 known properties with velvetleaf.
Linton said that velvet leaf was an annual plant but had recently be found out of season.
“With climate change, it could grow all year round… It could now be present in any crop.”
“Talking about biosecurity in general, everyone needs to be responsible for biosecurity.”
Chair Bill Cashmore said the presentation was “sobering”.
If velvetleaf is found on a property, the Ministry for Primary Industries asks it to be reported to the pest and disease hotline at 0800 80 99 66.