What is Karamu?

(Coprosma robusta)

Karamu branches with fruit, photo: Karen StewartGeneric Weed Distribution Map
  • Karamu is an evergreen shrub or tree native to New Zealand. Originally introduced as a garden ornamental karamu is now an environmental weed.
  • Karamu is a declared weed in Tasmania under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of karamu are prohibited in Tasmania.

How to identify karamu

  • Karamu grows to around 6 metres. The leaves are opposite, large, thick and glossy, and with pointed tips. Karamu flowers are small, greenish and growing in clusters. The fruit is a fleshy berry, green initially before maturing to orange-red over late summer.
  • Karamu is similar to the related mirror bush (C. repens) however mirror bush has thicker, very glossy leaves that are rounded with a blunt tip.
Karamu leaves, photo Karen Stewart

Image top: Karamu branches with fruit, photo: Karen Stewart
Image above: Karamu leaves, photo: Karen Stewart

Karamu in Tasmania

  • Karamu is recorded from the east coast, Fern Tree, the Gordon River Dam and larger populations are found along the Derwent River around New Norfolk (see map).
  • Karamu is able to invade relatively undisturbed native vegetation, particularly damp and wet eucalypt forest. It forms dense thickets and can eventually shade out native understorey species.

What is the legal status of karamu in your area?

  • The legal responsibilities of landholders and other stakeholders in dealing with karamu are laid out in the Statutory Management Plan for Karamu.
  • Use Table 1 (Zone A municipalities) in the Statutory Management Plan for Karamu to find out whether this weed occurs in your municipality.
  Karamu Species Weed Management Plan   (207Kb)

Detailed management and control guidelines for karamu can be found in the Karamu Control Guide. Refer also to Herbicides for Karamu Control. For further information see DPIPWE's Weed Links and Resources.

See also
Karamu Control Guide
Herbicides for Karamu Control
Statutory Management Plan for Karamu
Weed Links and Resources

Other useful links
Pest Genie

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