Common Name:Mauritius hemp
Botanical name:Fucraea foetida
Legal Status:NEMBA Category 1a
Mauritius hemp is an evergreen perennial shrub that has a short stem up to 1m high. The leaves are sword-shaped and to a sharp spine tip at the apex and usually have some widely-spaced hooked prickles (4-10 mm long) along their lower margins. Leaves are pale green or bright green in colour. The flowers are greenish to creamy white, 4cm long and strongly scented. They are produced on a large inflorescence up to 12m tall
Where does this species come from?
The Mauritius hemp is native to the Caribbean and northern South America.
Why is it a problem?
It is known to invade coastal sites and cliffs, gullies, hillsides and open woodlands where it crowds out indigenous species.
Means of reproduction?
This species reproduces by plantlets (i.e. bulbils), which are formed by the thousands on the branches of the massive flower clusters. Gravity is the main natural means of dispersal, and dense thickets often form around individual plants. These plantlets may also be spread larger distances by animals, in soil or in dumped garden waste.
For more information: Invasive Species South Africa - Fucraea foetida