Have you seen a Dutchman’s pipe?
  • Tuesday 01 December 2020
dutchmans pipe, invasive weed, biosecurity

Its exotic purple flowers are an attractive lure for butterflies, but the poisonous leaves of the Dutchman’s pipe invasive vine can be deadly.

Dutchman's pipe is an invader of rainforests, riparian areas, roadsides, disturbed areas, bushlands and even plantation crop areas, which is why it is listed as a high priority invasive plant in the Sunshine Coast Local Government Area Biosecurity Plan 2017.

The flowers lure in butterflies who lay their eggs on its leaves and once they hatch the larvae feed on the poisonous vine leaves. Some butterflies like the Richmond birdwing butterfly, are especially threatened.

Residents and other land managers are working towards eradicating it from the Upper Stanley, Pumicestone, Mooloolah and Maroochy catchments and working to contain its spread in the Mary River Catchment area.

Environment Portfolio Councillor Peter Cox said council was working with landholders to help wipe out Dutchman’s pipe and protect our native flora and fauna.

“Dutchman’s pipe is a highly invasive vine, and it reduces habitat for our native wildlife by smothering native trees, shrubs and vines,” Cr Cox said.

“By working together to manage invasive vines like Dutchman's pipe, we can help protect our butterflies and beautiful views.

“To help build habitat connectivity at your place, we recommend sticking to planting native plants in your garden and you’ll also be rewarded with visits from our wonderful birds and insects.”

Service Excellence Portfolio Councillor Winston Johnston said it was great to see that council had recognised the importance of eradicating this invasive vine from our catchment areas.

How to spot and remove Dutchman’s pipe:

  • It has reddish-purple pipe-shaped flowers that grow up to 10cm wide. 
  • The heart-shaped leaves look like those of the native Pearl vine, which is a food source for moth larvae, so it’s important to make sure you can spot the difference so you don't accidently take out or damage the Pearl vine.
  • The green seed pods open into a basket as they dry out which releases seeds that are carried by the wind into the surrounding environment and along waterways.
  • To remove Dutchman's pipe, pull or dig out plants making sure to remove all roots. For larger infestations, cut down the vine before it develops seeds (before summer) and dig out roots.
  • Make sure you remove all plant parts because it can spread vegetatively.  

If you have seen Dutchman's pipe, please contact council on 5475 7272 to speak with a Pest Plant Officer.

The Queensland Government Biosecurity Act 2014 requires everyone to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants under their control. This is called a general biosecurity obligation (GBO).

Council undertakes Biosecurity programs to help residents manage their biosecurity risks and become compliant with the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Council offers a range of services to help with invasive plant management including free weed control hire equipment such as wick wipers, splatter guns, a mobile spray unit (400L) and knapsack kits.

Find out more and discover what other invasive plant species might be in your area.