Ochna

Native to Africa, ochna is a small shrub with attractive yellow flowers.

Ochna was introduced to Australia in the early 1900s and has been widely planted as a garden ornamental here. Birds spread this plant into bushland, where it can become invasive and form dense thickets that are hard to remove. Ochna is common in South East Queensland.

Ochna is not a prohibited or restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Ochna serrulata

Other names

  • Mickey Mouse plant, Micky Mouse bush, bird's eye bush, carnival bush, small-leaved plane

Description

  • Erect, woody shrub up to about 1.5m tall.
  • Leaves are alternate, narrow, glossy, up to 5cm long, with serrated margins.
  • Flowers are bright yellow, 2-3cm across, 9-13mm long, with 5 petals.
  • Fruits are 5-8mm long, initially green, turning glossy black in summer.
  • Root is an angled taproot easily broken when hand-pulled (so plant easily reshoots).

Habitat

  • Prefers subtropical areas.
  • Found along roadsides and in rainforests, riparian areas and disturbed areas.

Distribution

  • Commonly found in South East Queensland.

Life cycle

  • Flowers mainly in spring and summer.

Impacts

Environmental

  • Invades bare areas of disturbed riparian habitat.

How it is spread

  • Spread mainly by bird-dispersed seeds.
  • Can also spread in dumped garden waste.

Control

Physical control

  • Hand-pulling can be most effective method of control for young seedlings.
  • Take care not to break tap root.
  • Larger plants may need to be grubbed out with mattock.

Herbicide control

  • Herbicides are effective.

See the Ochna fact sheet (PDF, 802KB) for herbicide control and application rates.

Biological control

  • No known biological control agents.

Legal requirements

  • Ochna is not a prohibited or restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014. However, by law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals under their control.
  • Local governments must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants and animals in their area. This plan may include actions to be taken on certain species. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local government for more information.

Further information