Lamiaceae (mint) family
Also known as
Galeobdolon luteum, aluminium plant, yellow archangel, Lamium maculatum, Lamiastrum galeobdolon
Where is it originally from?
Europe and West Asia
What does it look like?
Vigorous, perennial, mat-forming groundcover, with square, purplish stems and stolons that are densely hairy. Pleasant smelling, mint-like oval leaves (30-80 x 25-60 mm) are hairy below with large, pale, silvery-grey patches on upper surface, coarsely serrated along the edges, and arranged alternately on the stems. It is often found in gardens growing in the cooler areas around trees and shrubs. From December to May tubular, hairy, lemon-yellow flowers (20-25 mm long) are produced in dense axillary whorls, but no seed is set. Plants seldom revert to plain green-leaved form.
Are there any similar species?
No other similar species has silver patches on leaves.
Why is it weedy?
Like tradescantia (wandering jew or wandering willy), aluminium plant rapidly covers large areas of ground with a thick mat that stops seedlings of other plants from establishing. It is shade tolerant, so can be a problem deep into bush areas, as well as on the margins. Stems take root wherever they touch the ground, and it is also spread from stem fragments dumped with garden waste.
How does it spread?
Stolon fragments are spread by soil movement, intentional planting, and greenwaste dumping. Sources include gardens, tips, roadsides, and wasteland.
What damage does it do?
Forms dense groundcover and prevents seedlings of native species establishing.
Which habitats is it likely to invade?
Disturbed bush, shrubland, fernland and margins of waterbodies throughout New Zealand.
What can I do to get rid of it?
1. Dig out small patches (all year round): dispose of at refuse transfer station, burn or bury.
2. Spray (all year round): 5g metsulfuron-methyl 600g/kg + penetrant per 10L water. Follow up every three months until eradication is achieved. Spraying can be done at any time of year.
What can I do to stop it coming back?
Follow up required 3-monthly until eradication achieved. No seedlings are produced, so eradication is possible.