Old man's beard

Old Man's Beard is of limited distribution and density throughout Southland including Stewart Island/Rakiura.

What is it?

Old Man's Beard is a deciduous, woody vine with small creamy-white flowers (January-May), followed by silky seed heads. Stems are distinctively ridged and each leaf is divided into five leaflets of opposite pairs. The seed head is a loose, fluffy, decorative ball or tuft of fibrous material giving this plant its common name.


What is the problem?

The dispersal of seeds by wind allows this plant to spread over a wide area. Once established, this plant grows quickly and forms large dense masses smothering native vegetation.

How to control it

Report the presence of Old Man's Beard to Environment Southland. We will control Old Man's Beard at no cost to the land occupier.

For more details, see our factsheet on Old Man's Beard.


Old Man's beard is an Eradication Plant throughout the Southland region, which means our aim is to remove every live individual of the species on individual sites to permanently eliminate the possibility of any further propagation.


Anyone who knows or suspects that Old Man's Beard is present in Southland must immediately report the presence or possible presence to Environment Southland.

For a full explanation of the rules for Old Man's Beard see the Regional Pest Management Strategy.


Environment Southland monitors all active sites to ensure they are controlled each year.

Page reviewed: 26 Aug 2016 2:43pm