Sesbania punicea is a South American shrub, 2-3m tall with bright red flowers, slender branches and distinctive winged seed pods. It falls under the category one plants of the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act (CARA).
Plants from this category are prohibited on any land or water surface in South Africa and must be controlled or eradicated where possible. The invasion by red sesbania displaces indigenous plants and animals; reduces the productive potential of the land and impacts on biodiversity. It was brought to South Africa for ornamental purposes.
Red Sesbania has been recorded along the Sabie River (inside and outside KNP), Nsikazi River, Letaba River Outside KNP and Olifants River inside KNP as well as in other areas in the lowveld. The control of red sesbania is limited to biological control only.
Three bioagents have been released: Neodiplogrammus quadrivittatus (seed feeder), Trichapion lativentre (leaf feeder) and Rhyssomatus marginatus (flower feeder). Should you have red sesbania in your area, contact the Plant Protection Research Institute or KNP for further investigation and possible release of the biocontrol agents. PPRI: 012 356 3800 KNP: 013 735 4114.
HENDERSON, L. 2001. Alien weeds and invasive plants. A complete guide to declared weeds and invaders in South Africa. Plant Protection Research Institute Handbook No. 12. Agricultural Research Council, Pretoria. 300 pp. (Contains a complete copy of the relevant CARA regulations.) KLEIN, H. (compiler) 2002. Principles of biological control. PPRI Leaflet Series: Weeds Biocontrol, No 1.3. ARC-Plant Protection Research Institute, Pretoria. pp. 1-4.