Tropical Soda Apple fruit are the size of a golf ball, normally of yellow skin and brown seeds.
Tropical Soda Apple fruit are the size of a golf ball, normally of yellow skin and brown seeds.

Not the apple of my eye: New grant to fight stubborn weed

IT may sound like a fizzy drink, a trendy app or a new cocktail, but Tropical Soda Apple (Solanum viarum) is a destructive week that many around Northern NSW are working to eradicate.

In September 2020, Rous County Council received confirmation of a $33,600 grant from Local Land Services for the control of the weed.

The funds will be used in a 12-month project to assist Rous control Tropical Soda Apple in newly infested high-risk pathways in the Tweed and Kyogle Local Government Areas.

These infestations occur in riverbanks or wetlands along Grady’s Creek, Byrrill Creek and part of the Tweed River.

The funding will allow Rous to engage contractors to assist with this increased workload and free up Weed Biosecurity officers time to manage other high priority infestations of this and other types of weeds.

Tropical Soda Apple flowers are white, with five recurved petals.
Tropical Soda Apple flowers are white, with five recurved petals.

Rous County Council’s general manager, Phillip Rudd, said Tropical Soda Apple was a difficult weed to combat.

“It spreads really quickly, its germination rate is quite high and successful,” he said.

“It’s one of the ‘big ticket’ weeds in our area, so any additional funding to help combat it is a fantastic win for our region.

“This is one of those weeds that we put a lot of resources to manage it.

“Any money to deal with it is great, but we’ll always need more.”

Tropical Soda Apple, according to NSW Industry and Investment, was an aggressive, prickly perennial shrub.

Its foliage was unpalatable to livestock and could create physical barriers that prevents animals to access shade or water.

Tropical Soda Apple seedling.
Tropical Soda Apple seedling.

Originally from South America, Tropical Soda Apple was first recorded in Florida, USA, in 1987 it was known to infest 10,000ha by 1990.

Cattle movement is a known way the plan uses to spread, and that’s why it’s strongly recommended that stock from affected areas are held in a weed-free area for 48 hours before being transported to other properties.

  • If you find this week, contact your local Council Weeds Officer, call the NSW Weeds Hotline on 1800 680 244 or email weeds@industry.nsw.gov.au.

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