Boneseed (Chrysanthemoides monilifera subsp. monilifera)

If you see this plant call your local council weeds officer or the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline 1800 680 244.

Boneseed is a woody shrub with bright yellow daisy flowers. It is an environmental weed that outcompetes native plants and reduces food and habitat for native animals.

Profile

How does this weed affect you?

Boneseed is an environmental weed that:

  • forms dense stands in bushland
  • outcompetes native plants 
  • reduces food and habitat for native birds and other animals
  • is a threat to endangered ecological communities and threatened species of plants.

What does it look like?

Boneseed is an erect, woody, perennial shrub which grows up to 3 m high.

Leaves are:

  • oval shaped with irregular toothed edges
  • 3–9 cm long
  • covered with white hairs when young
  • hairless when mature
  • alternate along the stems.

Flowers are:

  • yellow daisies with 4–8 petals
  • up to 3 cm in diameter
  • in clusters at the end of branches
  • mostly present from late winter to mid-spring.

Fruit are:

  • round, green and fleshy when young
  • black when mature
  • 6–8 mm in diameter
  • with a single seed.

Seeds are:

  • whitish, bone-coloured when dry
  • smooth
  • round.

Stems are:

  • woody
  • branched
  • upright.

Similar looking plants

Boneseed looks like bitou bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp. rotundata) which is also a weed. You can tell them apart by the leaves, seeds and flowers. Bitou bush is usually shorter or more prostrate and has:

  • rounder leaves with smooth, not toothed edges
  • more petals (11–13) per flower
  • ribbed, egg-shaped seeds.

The seedlings look similar to native boobialla (Myoporum insulare). The main difference is that boobialla doesn’t have white hairs on the leaves like boneseed.

Where is it found?

Boneseed grows throughout southern Australia. In NSW it is mostly found in the Hunter, Greater Sydney and South East regions. There are also isolated infestations in the central and western parts of the state.

It is native to South Africa.

It was first recorded in Australian gardens in the mid 1800s and later planted to stabilise dunes, subsequently becoming a serious coastal weed.

What type of environment does it grow in?

Boneseed prefers regions with winter rainfall and grows best on sandy or medium-textured soils. It tolerates salty conditions and can thrive on the coast but does not tolerate water-logged soils.

Boneseed can grow in a range of habitats including:

  • dunes and heathland
  • mallee
  • open woodlands
  • sclerophyll forests
  • littoral rainforests.

It is not usually a problem on agricultural land because it is easily suppressed by grazing and cultivation.

Maps and records

  • Recorded presence of Boneseed during property inspections (Map: Biosecurity Information System - Weeds, 2017-2021)
    These records are made by authorised officers during property inspections under the Biosecurity Act 2015. Officers record the presence of priority weeds in their council area and provide this to the NSW Department of Primary Industries. Records reflect the presence of the weed on the date of inspection.

  • Estimated distribution of Boneseed in NSW (Map: NSW Noxious Weed Local Control Authorities, 2010)
    Map shows weed distribution and density estimated by local council weeds officers in 2010.

How does it spread?

Boneseed plants can produce up to 50 000 seeds/year. Most seeds are not viable after 3 years but some can remain viable for up to 10 years.

The fleshy fruit are eaten by animals especially birds. The seed can remain viable after passing through the gut and being excreted.

Seeds is also spread:

  • by salt or fresh water
  • in contaminated landscape supplies including soil and gravel
  • if it becomes attached to machinery
  • by people dumping garden waste.

References

Brougham KJ, Cherry H & Downey PO (eds) (2006). Boneseed Management Manual: current management and control options for boneseed (Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp. monilifera) in Australia, Department of Environment and Conservation NSW, Sydney.

CRC for Australian Weed Management (2003) Weed Management Guide – Boneseed Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp. Monilifera.

Lamp, C., & Collet, F. (1989). Field guide to weeds in Australia (No. 1 Ed. 3). Inkata Press.

PlantNET (The NSW Plant Information Network System). Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Sydney. Retrieved 21 February 2021 from: https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=in&name=Chrysanthemoides~monilifera~subsp.+monilifera

Parsons, W.T., & Cuthbertson, E. G. (2001). Noxious weeds of Australia. CSIRO publishing.

Richardson, F. J., Richardson, R. G., & Shepherd, R. C. H. (2011). Weeds of the south-east: an identification guide for Australia (No. Ed. 3). CSIRO.

More information

back to top

Control

Your local council weeds officer will assist with identification and information on control, removal and eradication of this weed. Infestations can be spread by inappropriate control activities.

To manage boneseed:

  • control mature plants to limit seed production
  • check for regrowth and new seedlings
  • kill young plants before they are 1 year old to prevent seed set (most plants do not flower until 18 months old)
  • keep checking for new seedlings each year because seeds can be dormant in the soil for up to 10 years.

Physical removal

By hand

Small plants and seedlings are easy to pull out because of the shallow roots and the plants preference for sandy soils. If the plants are fruiting, dispose of them by fire or bagging the seeds. Contact your local council for disposal options.

By machine

Tractors or excavators fitted with claw attachments can remove whole plants from the ground. This method is best suited to when plants don’t have fruit and are not in native vegetation.

Grazing

Boneseed is palatable to livestock, especially sheep. Grazing can prevent fruiting and sometimes kill plants. Cattle can damage plants by trampling but they do not eat the leaves as readily as sheep.

Ensure that boneseed is not in fruit if using grazing to control boneseed. If livestock do eat fruiting plants, keep them in a holding paddock that can be checked for boneseed seedlings before moving them to areas that don’t have boneseed

Slashing and mulching

Slashing is best done before plants have fruit . Plants will reshoot so follow up with other control methods will be required.

Fire

Fire can kill boneseed plants but it also stimulates seed germination so follow up control will be required.

Chemical control

Spot spraying

Cover all of the foliage with herbicide. Check the label for control of plants with different heights.

Basal barking

Apply herbicide mixed with diesel to cover the lower stem, all the way around.

Splatter gun

Splatter-guns use small amounts of concentrated herbicide. They spray large droplets that limit spray drift. They are useful for very dense infestations of weeds that are difficult to reach.

Cut stump method

Cut trunks or stems and apply herbicide to the stump within 15 seconds.

Stem injection

Drill or make cuts into the sapwood and fill with herbicide within 15 seconds.

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 12251 Expires 31/03/2026
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Various products)
Rate: 2 L /ha
Comments: Aerial boom spray applications. Refer to the critical use comments in the permit.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 12251 Expires 31/03/2026
Metsulfuron-methyl 600 g/kg (Various products)
Rate: 20–30g /ha
Comments: Aerial boom spray applications. Refer to the critical use comments in the permit.
Withholding period: Nil (recommended not to graze for 7 days before treatment and for 7 days after treatment to allow adequate chemical uptake in target weeds).
Herbicide group: B, Inhibitors of acetolactate synthase (ALS inhibitors)
Resistance risk: High


2,4-D 300 g/L + Picloram 75 g/L (Tordon® 75-D)
Rate: 650 mL per 100 L of water
Comments: Spray to wet all foliage thoroughly. Treat at flowering to fruiting stage.
Withholding period: 1-8 weeks (see label).
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate


Glyphosate 360 g/L (Various products)
Rate: 5 or 10 mL per 1 L of water
Comments: Handgun or knapsack. Spray to wet all foliage. Apply at peak flowering to actively growing bushes during winter. Do not apply during periods of drought stress. Use the higher rate for plants over 1.5 m.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate


Glyphosate 360 g/L (Various products)
Rate: 1 part per 29 parts water or 1 part per 19 parts water
Comments: Gas gun / Splatter gun application. Use the higher rate on bushes over 1.5 m
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate


Metsulfuron-methyl 300 g/kg + Aminopyralid 375 g/kg (Stinger™)
Rate: 20 g per 100 L of water
Comments: Spray to thoroughly wet all foliage.
Withholding period: 3 - 56 days (see label)
Herbicide group: B, Inhibitors of acetolactate synthase (ALS inhibitors) + I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: High/Moderate


Metsulfuron-methyl 600 g/kg (Various products)
Rate: 1 g/L + organosilicone penetrant
Comments: Gas gun / Splatter gun application. Apply as close as possible to the flowering stage.
Withholding period: Nil (recommended not to graze for 7 days before treatment and for 7 days after treatment to allow adequate chemical uptake in target weeds).
Herbicide group: B, Inhibitors of acetolactate synthase (ALS inhibitors)
Resistance risk: High


Metsulfuron-methyl 600 g/kg (Various products)
Rate: 10 g per 100 L of water
Comments: Spray to wet all foliage thoroughly.
Withholding period: Nil (recommended not to graze for 7 days before treatment and for 7 days after treatment to allow adequate chemical uptake in target weeds).
Herbicide group: B, Inhibitors of acetolactate synthase (ALS inhibitors)
Resistance risk: High


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


back to top

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.
All of NSW Prohibition on certain dealings
Must not be imported into the state, sold, bartered, exchanged or offered for sale.
All of NSW
Bonseed Control Zone: Whole of NSW
Control Order
Boneseed Control Zone (Whole of NSW): Owners and occupiers of land on which there is boneseed must notify the local control authority of new infestations; immediately destroy the plants; ensure subsequent generations are destroyed; and ensure the land is kept free of the plant. A person who deals with a carrier of boneseed must ensure the plant (and any seed and propagules) is not moved from the land; and immediately notify the local control authority of the presence of the plant.

back to top


For technical advice and assistance with identification please contact your local council weeds officer.
For further information call the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline on 1800 680 244 or send an email to weeds@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Reviewed 2021