Media release

ORC needs your support to control Old Man’s Beard around Otago.

Monday 28 January 2019

Two botany students, from the University of Otago, have been given three-month scholarships to help carry out inspections in order to help ORC and the public identify Old Man’s Beard in the region. In return, the students get hands-on experience while assisting ORC to protect Otago’s biodiversity.

The students and ORC staff carrying out inspections are warranted, giving them legal authorisation under the Biosecurity Act to enter properties and inspect for pest plants. And whilst the scholarships provide huge help to combat this invasive plant, community support is still necessary to continue to reduce Old Man’s Beard around Otago.

It may look beautiful while flowering, but Old Man’s Beard is one of the most dangerous climbing plants introduced to New Zealand. It smothers the plants and trees it grows on, making it a huge threat to Otago’s natural biodiversity.

Land occupiers in Otago are required to destroy any Old Man’s Beard on their property under the current Pest Management Strategy for Otago 2009. This is not expected to change under the proposed Regional Pest Management Plan which ORC has recently finished public consultation on.

It is easiest to spot the plant during the summer months when it flowers. As the plant matures, the flowers themselves have quite a distinctive woolly look to them, which is how the vine became known as “Old Man’s Beard”.

For more information on how to identify Old Man’s Beard and what to do if you have it, go to ORC’s website at

For more information contact

Peter Winder
Acting Director Environmental Monitoring and Operations
021 657 048

Communications contact

Emma Schranz
Senior Media Advisor
027 627 5894