New Zealand Burr

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by nixon, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. nixon

    nixon Member

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    Hello,

    Recently I came across this groundcover in a book called Acanena microphylla which is quite interesting in that its foliage comes in a few colours and its flowers emerge in summer as pink to red burrs. It is listed also listed as evergreen, and to me sounds like an ideal garden plant in for this climate. I was wondering if anyone has had some experience using it in their gardens here? If so, how well does it grow? I would be interested in hearing more about it. VanDusen Garden lists that it has seeds available and I'm tempted to try...

    http://www.deeproot.co.uk/pbo/plantdetail.php?plantname=Acaena+microphylla+6I927Kupferteppich6I927

    thanks

    nix
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 7, 2011
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Definitely NOT recommended - Acaena species are very invasive, and the burrs a serious nuisance, sticking instantly to clothing and pet fur at the slightest touch, and almost impossible to remove the barbed burr spines afterwards.
     
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  3. nixon

    nixon Member

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    Thanks for your reply, Michael F, have you experienced it in Vancouver's climate though? Or is your experience with it in a climate similar enough that you would say its invasive here? I'm just curious because I've never seen it in cultivation, yet I'd say that I'm a pretty experienced gardener. Shade tolerant groundcovers do tend to be the most dangerous garden plants... There are enough good examples of those growing in the forests here.
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Vancouver's climate is sufficiently similar to Britain's (both are maritime west coast types with mild winters and cool summers, like its native homeland) that it is fairly safe to predict its likely invasive character.

    But even without that, the burrs are a seriously unpleasant nuisance - the burrs disintegrate on contact, leaving the barbed spines deeply embedded in clothes, pet fur, etc. Having spent many hours trying to pull bits of them out of socks and trouser bottoms (nearly ruining the socks in the process, and unpleasant itching from the bits that get stuck), I can say it is definitely a plant that I would not want in my garden.

    Pic below, invasive in sand dune habitat in Northumberland, UK.
     

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  5. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hey nixon,

    There are a few species growing in the Alpine section of the UBCBG. You can see it in the S. American section and the Australasian section. I think the Acaena novae-zelandiae, which would fit in the Australasian section has actually died out and what you see it one of the S. American species spreading there, but I have not verified this. (There is a lot of it on top of the hill close to the stadium fence.) The flowers can be colourful, but seem to be brief and then the burrs persist. I don't see it popping up elsewhere in the garden, so it is only spreading vegetatively here, but it is an aggressive spreader. This is mostly growing in full sun. If VanDusen has seeds, they may very well have the plant on display somewhere as well?
     
  6. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    A burr of this was thrown at me on the very first day I worked here.
     
  7. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Genus is not known wild in Seattle except for naturalizing of A. novae-zelandiae at the Kruckeberg Botanic Garden.
     
  9. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I don't know if @nixon is still around, but Pl@ntNet just gave a 70% rating to its ID of Acaena microphylla for this plant I saw today at VanDusen. It looks like it's spreading successfully. ;)
    This is in the Rosaceae family.
    Acaena microphylla_VanDusen_Cutler_20220722_145351.jpg Acaena microphylla_VanDusen_Cutler_20220722_145343.jpg Acaena microphylla_VanDusen_Cutler_20220722_145437.jpg
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    The historically rainy summers of Britain and Ireland have provided a significantly different environment than is presented by the dry growing seasons of the Vancouver to Portland corridor. With when conditions like those of a normal Seattle summer were experienced some years back in England it being called a 100 year drought there.
     

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