Written by: Coral – Epanouir Flower Studio
Photo by: Unsplash
A pangolin brought the world to a standstill.
If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we need to pay more heed to nature and the consequences of abusing it.
So, it seems timeous to alert readers and followers alike about many popular botanical species found in our gardens, in our field and our flower shops and events, that are classified as invasive species.
SANBI: “Invasive Alien Plants (IAPs) are widely considered as a major threat to biodiversity, human livelihoods and economic development. IAPs cost South Africans tens of billions of rand annually in lost agricultural productivity and resources spent on management.”
These regulations have been in place since July 2016, as documented most recently, in the Government Gazette, NEMBA 40166. The Department of Environmental Management manages these regulations.
But for some reason, the information has not been widely spread in the cut flower world in South Africa.
It is worthwhile finding out the botanical and common names of the flowers and foliage, grasses and berries that you work with if you are a florist, not only to understand how to condition, store and design with them, but also so that you can monitor this list and to be sure that you and your clients are not accidentally committing a crime by supplying/receiving them or using an invasive species in event work.
The NEMBA (National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act) list does include information where a botanical species may be classified differently in each province, so be sure to check the information relevant for the province your trade-in, and that of your supplier/growers too.
PLEASE NOTE with regards to pampas grass in particular: at present, there are permits issued allowing the import and trade of pampas grass that has been treated. However, there is an investigation underway as to the legality of these permits as they are issued by a different government department than the Department of Environmental Management.
So, if you are going to buy or use pampas grass, be sure that you are only buying it from someone who has a permit to trade it.
In addition, there are suggestions to spray it with hairspray to stop it from shedding. Whilst this is a helpful tip, please remember that pampas grass is already a highly flammable product and that adding hairspray onto it, makes it even more flammable. Ideally, it should have been treated with a flame retardant by anyone you buy it from, or who uses it for an event or wedding. This is required by the South African National Standard 1423 for the use of any flammable fabric, e.g. draping or dried botanicals when used in a public space, which would include wedding venues, event spaces, shopping malls and stores.
In summary, the following are considered to be restricted activities for category 1b invasive species as regulated by the NEMBA 40166 gazette (please refer to the gazette for restricted activities for other categories):
|Restricted Activities as defined in the Act||Category 1b Invasive Species|
|a. Importing into the Republic, including introducing from the sea, any specimen of a listed invasive species.||Prohibited|
|b. Having in possession or exercising physical control over any specimen of a listed invasive species||Exempted [Note however that Notice 3 under the Alien and Invasive Species List, 2016 expressly takes precedence over Notice 1 in the event of a conflict. In this instance, under Notice 3 neither of the two types of listed Pampas Grass are granted any exemptions. Thus, it is still prohibited to possess or exercise physical control over a Pampas Grass specimen.]|
|c. Growing, breeding or in any other way propagating any specimen of a listed invasive species, or causing it to multiply.||Prohibited|
|d. Conveying, moving or otherwise translocating any specimen of a listed invasive species||Prohibited|
|e. Selling or otherwise trading in, buying, receiving, giving, donating or accepting as a gift, or in any way acquiring or disposing of any specimen of a listed invasive species||Prohibited|
The following popular event botanicals (many of which can, unfortunately, be sourced via existing wholesalers) are classified as invasive species (in the gazette NEMBA 40166) and the penalties for a conviction of an offence range up to a maximum of R5 million or 5 years imprisonment for failing to control an invasive species that is under your control (i.e. on the property that you own or manage). And R10 million or 10 years imprisonment for carrying on a restricted activity in relation to a listed invasive species in absence of a permit, issued by the competent authority to do so. See the gazette for restricted activities per species and its category by province/area
- Pampas grass – cortaderia selloana and cortaderia jubata
- Privet berry – all forms of Ligustrum pretty much – see entries 190-194 ligustrum lucidum is the most common one whose berries are traded.
- Pennisetum grass
- Common Purple Granadilla vine – it is a category 2 in Gauteng, meaning a permit is needed to trade it except in urban areas, so if it is grown in a rural area, the farmer needs to have a permit to trade the vine and fruit if not grown for fruit consumption for humans.
- Love in the puff or balloon vine lesser and greater
- Castor Bean Plant
- Equisetum hyemale or snake grass
- English ivy Hedera helix
- Algerian ivy hedera canariensis – 164/164
- Brazilian pepper
- Wattles – various types
- Eucalyptus – various species but NOT penny gum, for specific areas, like river banks, sensitive eco systems and protected areas – check the gazette for specific details. The images, cover 5 listed invasive species.
- Dodder vine
- Sword fern
- Fire thorn – various pyracantha
To find out more, you can refer to the following online references: