Assessing the invasiveness of rubber bush (Calotropis procera) in northern Australia

Assessing the invasiveness of rubber bush (Calotropis procera) in northern Australia

Rubber bush (Calotropis procera) is a milkweed that is native to Africa, the Middle East and the Asian Continent, and has currently  achieved worldwide distribution. In northern Australia, it has become ubiquitous on properties in recent years having been identified as presenting a weed risk from the late 1960's.  Little is known of its reproductive capacity, flowering and fruiting phenology, pollination ecology and its potential to spread further among other aspects. This project aims at bridging identified knowledge gaps to assist in the management of this weed species. Various approaches including field trials, observational studies, laboratory experiments and computer modeling will be used to assess specific attributes of Calotropis procera that make this plant species invasive. Funding has been provided by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and the research activity is undertaken collaboratively between Charles Darwin University, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Queensland) and the Northern Territory Department of Land Resource Management. Research activity covers sites in both the Northern Territory and Queensland.