Yellow bells (Tecoma stans)

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Impact

Yellow bells invades riparian areas, edges of rainforest and eucalypt forest, open woodlands, grasslands, waste areas, sand dunes, agricultural land and other disturbed areas.

It can form dense stands which strongly compete with other species and reduces habitat for native animals.

Although palatable to stock, it reduces feed quality, restricts access for stock and machinery and competes with orchard plantings

It has the potential to be a serious weed of much of tropical and subtropical Australia. 

Distribution

Yellow bells is a native of tropical America.

It is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant in subtropical and tropical areas of the world. It has become naturalised in Australia, southern Asia, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and some oceanic islands.

Yellow bells was introduced into Australia as an ornamental plant and was first recorded as naturalised in 1973 near Roma in Queensland.

It is now commonly naturalised from Sydney north to Exmouth in north-western Western Australia. However, it has also been recorded near Renmark in South Australia.

Isolated infestations occur in coastal and floodplain areas on the NSW North Coast. Scattered infestations are found in and around along the Tweed coast, Alstonville, Byron Bay, Ballina, Kyogle, Coffs Harbour, Nambucca Heads and South West Rocks. A core infestation occurs in Lismore.

Distribution map

Spread

Yellow bells primarily reproduces from seed. These are primarily wind-borne, but are also spread by water and dumping garden waste.

Plants can also sucker, especially if damaged.

Seedlings mostly germinate in spring and summer.

Early growth is relatively rapid, with growth of up to 1 m in height in the first year. The main growth period is from spring to autumn, but green foliage is present year-round.

Flowering and fruiting occur year-round, but are chiefly from spring to autumn.

Description

Yellow bells is a large shrub or much-branched small tree 3-8 m tall, rarely to 10 m tall.

Bark is initially green and smooth, but becomes light brown to pale grey and grooved with age.

Leaves are pinnate with 3-13 leaflets. Leaflets are hairless and up 2.5-10 cm long, with serrated edges.

Flowers are borne in several-flowered clusters at or near the stem tips. Petals are bright yellow, tubular and 3-5 cm long, with reddish lines in the throat.

Fruit are 10-30 cm long, linear, bean-like pods. Pods are initially green then ripen to brown.

Seeds are paper, winged and to about 2.2 cm long.

Habitat

Yellow bells prefers sunny conditions in sub-tropical and tropical climates, which are free of heavy frosts, have 700-1800 mm annual rainfall.

It prefers well-drained soils with a light texture.

It is grows in riparian areas, edges of rainforest and eucalypt forest, open woodlands, grasslands, waste areas, sand dunes, agricultural land and other disturbed areas. It is also salt tolerant and is capable of becoming established in mangrove habitats.

Acknowledgements

Author: Harry Rose

Reviewers: Rod Ensbey, Elissa van Oosterhout

References

Australia’s Virtual Herbarium: Tecoma stans. http://avh.ala.org.au

BioNET Invasive Plants factsheet: Tecoma stans (Yellow Bells). http://keys.lucidcentral.org

Floridata: Tecoma stans. http://www.floridata.com

Jordan, S. (2007). Yellow Bells (Tecoma stans). Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. 

Weeds Australia: Golden Bells (Tecoma stans). http://www.weeds.org.au

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Control

The main methods of control are excluding plants from uninfested areas, physical removal of all plant parts, and herbicide application. Which method is appropriate depends on:

  • size and density of the infestation
  • accessibility
  • time and resources available
  • habitat infested.

Continued follow-up and re-treatment is essential for all control methods.

Physical control

Seedlings or small plants can be hand pulled in small-to-medium sized infestations, but the entire taproot must be removed to avoid regrowth.

Herbicide control

Herbicide applications are recommended for medium-to-large infestations, but can also be used for small infestations.

Herbicide options

WARNING - ALWAYS READ THE LABEL
Users of agricultural or veterinary chemical products must always read the label and any permit, before using the product, and strictly comply with the directions on the label and the conditions of any permit. Users are not absolved from compliance with the directions on the label or the conditions of the permit by reason of any statement made or not made in this information. To view permits or product labels go to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website www.apvma.gov.au

See Using herbicides for more information.


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Roundup®)
Rate: 1.0 L in 50 L of water
Comments: Spray seedlings.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Roundup®)
Rate: 1 part per 1.5 parts of water
Comments: Stem injection or cut stem application.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate


Picloram 44.7 g/kg + Aminopyralid 4.47 g/L (Vigilant II ®)
Rate: Undiluted
Comments: Cut stump/stem injection application. Apply a 3–5 mm layer of gel for stems less than 20 mm. Apply 5 mm layer on stems above 20 mm .
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate


Triclopyr 240 g/L + Picloram 120 g/L (Access™ )
Rate: 1.0 L in 60 L of diesel
Comments: Basal bark/cut stump application.
Withholding period: Nil
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate


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Biosecurity duty

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Biosecurity Act 2015 and its subordinate legislation, and the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans (published by each Local Land Services region in NSW). It describes the state and regional priorities for weeds in New South Wales, Australia.

Area Duty
All of NSW General Biosecurity Duty
All plants are regulated with a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk they may pose. Any person who deals with any plant, who knows (or ought to know) of any biosecurity risk, has a duty to ensure the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.
North Coast
Exclusion zone: whole region excluding the core infestation area of Richmond Valley Council, Ballina Shire Council, Lismore Council, Kyogle Council, Byron Shire Council and Tweed Shire Council
Regional Recommended Measure*
Whole region: The plant or parts of the plant should not be traded, carried, grown or released into the environment. Exclusion zone: The plant should be eradicated from the land and the land kept free of the plant. Land managers should mitigate the risk of the plant being introduced to their land. Core infestation area: Land managers should reduce impacts from the plant on priority assets.
North West Regional Recommended Measure*
Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. The plant should be eradicated from the land and the land kept free of the plant. The plant should not be bought, sold, grown, carried or released into the environment. Notify local control authority if found.
Northern Tablelands Regional Recommended Measure*
Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. Land managers should mitigate spread from their land. The plant should not be bought, sold, grown, carried or released into the environment.
*To see the Regional Strategic Weeds Management Plans containing demonstrated outcomes that fulfill the general biosecurity duty for this weed click here

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Reviewed 2017