Ochna has narrow, dark, and green leaves with very fine serrated edges. Ochna plants are often found in large numbers because of the easy spread of berries (seeds).
In spring Ochna will get red-tipped leaves and a small short-lived yellow flower. The bush matures to have a red pea-like flower or head with green berries which turn black and can grow to as tall as 150cm.
How does it spread
Birds eat the plant’s fruit/ berries and spread the seeds into nearby bushland. Ochna seeds germinate quickly. Seeds can also be spread by dumped garden waste and from people growing the plant in their gardens.
The Ochna seedlings, if very small, can be pulled out but most often will have reached a stage where they have formed a crooked stem beneath the ground. At this stage pulling will only break off the top of the stem and the plant below the ground surface will keep on growing.
If the seedlings are beyond the pulling-out stage, they need to be dug out or poisoned by scraping the stem of the plant and dripping a full-strength glyphosate herbicide (Roundup etc) onto the sap area beneath the outer bark. Larger plants can also have the side of stems scraped and glyphosate applied or by partially breaking the stem and bending it back to reveal the sappy inner stem and then applying herbicide directly on this inner surface.
Please note: remove any berries and bag and bin them in red bins ideally ensuring none fall to the ground. Ochna is extensive in our local bushland.
For more information and photos go here.