Mickey mouse plant
Ochnaceae - Ochna serrulata

What does it look like?

Mickey Mouse plant is a shrub that is usually 1-2m tall and has pimply-textured bark. Its name is due to the appearance of its fruit, which resemble the face of Mickey Mouse because the black berry-like fruits are attached to red sepals. It has oval leaves that are 13-50mm long and have finely-toothed margins. The young spring leaves are pinkish-bronze and mature to glossy green. It has bright yellow flowers about 20mm across, which precede the fruit.

In New Zealand, Mickey Mouse plant is an urban weed of gardens, derelict building sites and the under-storey and edges of forest. It is easily dispersed, and could spread from urban areas to other habitats.  It is widespread in eastern Australia where it has invaded road sides, disturbed sites, waste areas, forests, forest margins, and riparian areas that are close to habitation.  In Hawaii it is known to spread from initial plantings via bird-dispersed fruits.

Why is it a problem?

Mickey Mouse plant can form a dense monoculture that prevents regeneration of native species.

Control Methods

Mickey Mouse plant has a strong taproot, making it difficult to control by pulling out.

Spray smaller seedlings and dense areas with 330 ml/10 L triclopyr or 165 ml/L Yates Hydrocotyle Killer. Cut larger plants close to the base, then swab the stump with 330 ml/10 L triclopyr or 165 ml/L Yates Hydrocotyle Killer immediately (less than a minute) after cutting.

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