Coral creeper (Barleria repens)

Also known as: creeping barleria, red barleria, small bush violet

Coral creeper is a scrambling herb or climber with bright red or pinkish flowers. It can form dense thickets that smother other plants.

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How does this weed affect you?

Coral creeper is an environmental weed that can:

  • form very dense ground cover
  • smother other plants
  • outcompete native plants especially in the understorey of bushland.

What does it look like?

Coral creeper is a perennial scrambling herb that usually grows up to 0.7 m. If it climbs over taller plants it can reach up to 2 m.

Leaves are:

  • dark green and shiny
  • oval with a pointed tip
  • up to 60 mm long and 25 mm wide
  • sparsely hairy on the lower side and hairy along the margins
  • prominently veined
  • on stalks 5-10 mm long
  • in opposite pairs along the stem.

Flowers are:

  • tubular with 5 spreading lobes
  • red, salmon or pinkish
  • up to 50 mm long
  • single or occasionally in groups of 2 or 3
  • produced in late summer and autumn.

Fruit:

  • are club-shaped capsules 1.5 – 2 cm long
  • usually contain 4 seeds.

Seeds are:

  • round to oval shaped
  • up to 5 mm wide
  • covered with silky hairs.

Stems are:

  • green and sparsely hairy when young
  • woody and grooved when older.

The stems send out roots when they touch the soil.

Where is it found?

In NSW, coral creeper has been found on the Central Coast in the Greater Sydney region and in coastal areas of the Hunter Region.

Coral creeper is native to Africa. 

What type of environment does it grow in?

Coral creeper grows in tropical, subtropical and temperate areas. It can tolerate shade and can grow in the understory of forests. Most infestations in NSW have been on sandy soils.

In NSW it has been found in littoral rainforest on coastal dunes, in urban bushland in gardens and drains. Coral creeper could also spread into riparian areas, along roadsides and other disturbed areas. 

Maps and records

  • Recorded presence of Coral creeper 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.

How does it spread?

By seed

When the seed capsule splits open it ejects four seeds that can land several metres away. Seeds can also be spread by water, animals, mud and by the dumping of garden waste.

By plant parts

Coral creeper stems can root when they touch the ground. Slashing, mowing and dumping of garden waste spreads the stems.

References

Hignell, K. (2016). New weed incursions: Where do we go from here for coral creeper (Barleria repens) in A Good Weed #75 pp 9-10. Weed Society of New South Wales.

PlantNET (The NSW Plant Information Network System). Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Sydney. Retrieved 27 October 2020 from https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Barleria~repens

Shendage, S. M., & Yadav, S. R. (2010). Revision of the genus Barleria (Acanthaceae) in India. Rheedea20(2), 81-230.

Technigrow Australia (2010) WeedWatch –Coral creeper (Baleria repens) Retrieved 27 October 2020 from: http://www.technigro.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/13-Coral-Creeper.pdf

More information

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Control

Early detection

Please contact your local council if you find coral creeper. They can help control the infestation. Early detection is important to help prevent its spread. Small infestations can be easily eradicated but an ongoing commitment is needed to ensure new infestations do not establish.

Physical control

Individual plants can be pulled out by hand or dug up. Make sure that all of the roots are removed and that all parts of the plant are disposed of properly. Contact your local council for disposal methods.

Chemical control

Larger infestations can be spot sprayed when plants are actively growing. Use caution when spraying coral creeper that is close to native plants.

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 31/03/2025
Fluroxypyr 200 g/L (Starane™)
Rate: 500 mL to 1 L per 100 L water
Comments: Spot spray
Withholding period: 7 days.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Fluroxypyr 333 g/L (Starane™ Advanced)
Rate: 300 to 600 mL per 100 L water
Comments: Spot spray
Withholding period: 7 days.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Various products)
Rate: One part product to 50 parts water
Comments: Spot spray
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Various products)
Rate: One part product to 9 parts water
Comments: Splatter gun
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Metsulfuron-methyl 600 g/kg (Various products)
Rate: 10 - 20 g per 100 L water plus surfactant
Comments: Spot spray
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


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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.
Greater Sydney 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.
*To see the Regional Strategic Weeds Management Plans containing demonstrated outcomes that fulfil the general biosecurity duty for this weed click here

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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 2020