Biosecurity risk from noxious pampas grass

This popular grass seed head is sending the wrong message at your wedding


News
No doubt about it these pampas grass seed heads look great at an Indie wedding but the fact remains they are a biosecurity risk as a noxious weed - irradiated or not. Photo @soulflowersf/Instagram

No doubt about it these pampas grass seed heads look great at an Indie wedding but the fact remains they are a biosecurity risk as a noxious weed - irradiated or not. Photo @soulflowersf/Instagram

Aa

Indie weddings are going crazy over the use of imported pampas grass as a decoration. A couple of problems with this - its' noxious and it sends out the wrong signal!

Aa

Beware flaunting a bouquet of pampas grass at your next Indie wedding - the bride might be melting hearts all over the internet but she could also be up for a fine from NSW Biosecurity or, worse for her new marriage, propositioned from a bypasser keen on a sexual encounter.

Maybe that native Australian arrangement would make the better choice.

Two years ago sales of the South American native plummeted after the London Independent newspaper published a story about the gaudy grass heads apparently signaling the desire for a swingers' get together.

Now Biosecurity NSW is cracking down on the popular floral wedding accoutrement because of its highly invasive and flammable properties.

Rous County Council biosecurity officers Brook Hoosan and Karolina Pemberton secure a seized consignment of the noxious weed pampas grass at Byron Bay on Thursday. Photo Kim Curtis/ Rous County Council.

Rous County Council biosecurity officers Brook Hoosan and Karolina Pemberton secure a seized consignment of the noxious weed pampas grass at Byron Bay on Thursday. Photo Kim Curtis/ Rous County Council.

Each seed head contains up to 100,000 seeds which can float on the breeze for up to 25 kilometres.

"Twenty years ago we eradicated pampas grass," recalls Rous County council biosecurity officer Kim Curtis. At the time the program involved a lot of glyphosate and weed officers working in the bush. While Round-Up killed the grass there was the problem of the giant tussock left behind.

Now the flamboyant flower-like seed heads are gaining traction on Instagram, where photos of the plant lifting the look of recent weddings at Byron Bay and its hinterland have gone, you guessed it, viral.

Weed officers were alerted to the craze after a fellow biosecurity officer working the Sydney flower market discovered the grass being sold to Byron Bay florists keen to supply what has become a burgeoning wedding market.

Pampas grass is on-trend as a wedding decoration but will attract unwanted attention from biosecurity officers, and might encourage the odd swinging sexual encounter. Photo @rockmywedding/Instagram

Pampas grass is on-trend as a wedding decoration but will attract unwanted attention from biosecurity officers, and might encourage the odd swinging sexual encounter. Photo @rockmywedding/Instagram

Over the past fortnight local officers have raided florists, the most recent one taking place on Thursday, to confiscate the outlawed plants.

One florist had collected wild growing seed heads along the Sydney to Newcastle railway line and brought them to the Byron Bay hinterland for a special function. Another thought it was doing the right thing by irradiating imported seed heads, to extinguish their reproductive potential but Ms Curtis says the Queensland certificates were not recognised by NSW Department of Primary Industries and could not be matched to individual grass stems.

"Under the biosecurity act you are not allowed to sell, trade or move noxious weeds for biosecurity reasons," she said.

"There are so many native alternatives to wedding floral decorations."

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by