Invasive Alien Plant Alert

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Why SANBI is publishing this series?

Invasive Alien Plants (IAPs) are widely considered as a major threat to biodiversity, human livehoods and economic development. IAPs cost South Africans tens of billions of rand annually in lost agricultural productivity and resources spent on management. Many IAPs are products of unwise and unintentional plant introductions, but if new invasions are discovered before they are well established, eradication is possible and management costs can be reduced. SANBI's Invasive Species Programme, formerly Early Detection and Rapid Response programme, (funded by Working for Water programme, Natural Resources Management branch - DEA) was formed to control and manage emerging invasive alien plants in South Africa.

What you can do to help

  • Become informed about the imapct of invasive alien plants
  • Report sightings of invasives so that action can be taken to control the spread of these species. The focus is on emerging invasive alien plants that are in category 1a according to NEMBA regulations. These are contained in small populations, currently have less impacts, but have attributes and potentially suitable habitat that could result in increased range and consequences in the next few decades.

See regulations on alien and invasive species for more information

More about  categories of Invasive Alien Plants

The regulation listed a total of 559 alien species as invasive and further 560 species are listed as prohibited and may not be introduced into South Africa. Below is a brief explanation of the four categories of Invasive Alien Plants as per the regulation. 

Category 1a:
Invasive species requiring compulsory control. Remove and destroy. Any specimens of Category 1a listed species need, by law, to be eradicated from the environment. No permits will be issued.

Category 1b:
Invasive species requiring compulsory control as part of an invasive species control programme. Remove and destroy. These plants are deemed to have such a high invasive potential that infestations can qualify to be placed under a government sponsored invasive species management programme. No permits will be issued.

Category 2:
Invasive species regulated by area. A demarcation permit is required to import, possess, grow, breed, move, sell, buy or accept as a gift any plants listed as Category 2 plants. No permits will be issued for Cat 2 plants to exist in riparian zones.

Category 3:
Invasive species regulated by activity. An individual plant permit is required to undertake any of the following restricted activities (import, possess, grow, breed, move, sell, buy or accept as a gift) involving a Category 3 species. No permits will be issued for Cat 3 plants to exist in riparian zones.

Contact details

Ruqaya Adams

Email address: invasivespecies@sanbi.org.za

Tel: +27 (0)21 799 8403

Plants featured in this series

Acacia implexa (screw-pod wattle)
Acacia paradoxa
(kangaroo thorn)
Acacia stricta
(hop wattle) 
Banksia ericifolia
(heath-leaved banksia)
Cabomba caroliniana
(fanwort)
Campuloclinium macrocephalum
(pompom weed) 
Chondrilla juncea (devil's grass)
Crotalaria agatiflora
(Canary bird bush)
Cytisus scoparius (Scotch broom)
Diplocyclos palmatus
(lollypop climber)
Genista monspessulana (French broom)
Hydrilla verticillata
(hydrilla)
Iris pseudacorus
Lythrum salicaria
(purple loosestrife)
Melaleuca ericifolia
(swamp paperbark)
Metrosideros excelsa (New Zealand Christmas tree)
Paspalum quadrifarium
(Tussock paspalum)
Pueraria montana var. lobata
(kudzu weed)

Last updated on 28 October 2015
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