The Sleeping Giant
  • Last updated:
  • 17 Feb 2019

As part of Noosa Parks Association’s caretaker commitment to Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services (QPWS), three ‘weeders’ from Coolum District Coast Care (CDCC) recently enjoyed a week long working holiday at the light house keepers cottages at Double Island Point, in the Cooloola section of the Great Sandy National Park.

In addition to undertaking weed eradication in the assigned areas, the ever vigilant weeders noticed a flourishing growth of Gloriosa Lily (Gloriosa superba) amongst trees quite near the cottages. A rather curious characteristic that we noted was that whilst these plants had substantial upper growth, no seeds or spent seed capsules were found. This may have been as a consequence of the lack of summer rain this year. It could be that the plant was preserving itself for another day. Unusual to say the least, as drier times usually trigger a survival response from plants which brings about the proliferation of seed.

The showery weather ruled out the use of chemical control on any of the weeding areas. So not being deterred by the onset of intermittent showers, we decided to attack the Gloriosa, as we could beat a hasty retreat to the cottage should the rain intensify. So with great determination, we set about to hand dig the tubers in an attempt to totally remove the patch of Gloriosa. Protective gloves were a must during this exercise as the sap from the vines and tubers has been reported to be a skin irritant and quite toxic.

Hand digging required that every stem was tracked back to a tuber. It was a painstaking but worthwhile process because it provided certainty that all offending tubers were removed and safely bagged. This required great care, as anyone who has tackled Gloriosa knows, the stem and tubers are quite fragile and break off easily.

This process was not without a surprise or two. Not only was the length and thickness of some tubers rather substantial but they were also multilayered, at about 5cm and then deeper up to 15-20cms below the surface. This suggests that the infestation of Gloriosa had existed for several years. One of the most disturbing aspects was the extent of the network of conjoined tubers that had spread underground.

Article by The SEE sub-group (Silva, Estelle, Edwin) of CDCC