'Weed seeds and whoopsie daisies': viability of bitou bush Chrysanthemoides monilifera seeds in fox (Vulpes vulpes) scats

Paul D. Meek, Environment Australia, Parks Australia North, PO Box ZZZ, Christmas Island, Indian Ocean 6798.


Summary

The coastal weed bitou bush, Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp. rotundata is causing major environmental problems along the east coast of Australia. This plant is spread by wind, rain and animals. Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes)are known to eat the fleshy fruit of bitou bush, however their role in spreading the plant is unclear. In 1994 a small trial was conducted to test the viability of bitou bush seeds after ingestion by foxes. An average of 244 seeds (range 92-594) were found in each fox scat. Viability trials showed that 50-70% of bitou bush seeds germinated under ideal propagation conditions and favoured well drained soils. Seeds from fox scats also remained viable in the field although germination rates were lower than in the nursery trial.

 

Plant Protection Quarterly (1998) 13 (1) 21-24.