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German wasp | Vespula germanica

German wasp

Vespula germanica

Coral bush | Ardisia crenata

Coral bush

Ardisia crenata

Purple loosestrife | Lythrum salicaria

Purple loosestrife

Lythrum salicaria

Pom pom weed | Campuloclinium macrocephalum

Pom pom weed

Campuloclinium macrocephalum

Canarybird bush | Crotalaria agatiflora

Canarybird bush

Crotalaria agatiflora

Peanut butter cassia | Senna didymobotrya

Peanut butter cassia

Senna didymobotrya

Rubber vine | Cryptostegia grandiflora

Rubber vine

Cryptostegia grandiflora

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Environmental Programmes

In order to tackle our country’s socio-economic challenges, the government adopted the Outcomes based approach to improve government performance and providing focus on service delivery. find out more

Snake grass

Equisetum hyemale

Common name:

Snake grass

Scientific name:

Equisetum hyemale

Alternative common names:

Rough horsetail, Common scouring-rush


In its native range it grows along sandbanks of wetlands and river terraces, as well as lake shores. It is eaten by waterfowl such as geese and ducks. It is a popular ornamental plant, but is highly invasive and aggressive.


Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    North America & Eurasia

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    NEM:BA Category 1a

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    Snake grass is highly invasive when it gets into well-irrigated gardens. It is feared that it could takeover along the country’s waterways if it jumps the garden fence.

    How does it spread?

    Never discard or dump it as it may release spores or resprout. It can also regenerate from underground rootstock metres away from the mother plant.

    Why is it a problem?

    Snake grass is a serious threat to boggy gardens, waterways and wetlands where it can quickly overtake indigenous reeds and plants. Once established, it is very difficult to eradicate.

    What does it look like?

    Snake grass is an evergreen plant with upward growing stems reaching up to 120cm long and each stem is about 3-10mm thick, with a central cavity. It has distinct longitudinal ridges along the stem. The tiny leaves are joined together around the stem, forming a narrow black-green band or sheath at each joint. It does not produce flowers or seeds, but produces a strobili (spore cone) on top of the stem which releases spores Leaves: Tiny leaves are joined together around the stem Flowers: None Fruit/seeds: Spores

    Does the plant have any uses?

    It is a highly ornamental plant that is cherished by landscapers and floral artists. As many as six gardens a year at the Chelsea Flower Show in London feature this plant. Designers, gardeners, landscapers and floral artists are not always aware of the devastating impact the plant could have if it is released into nature.

    Plant me instead alternatives

    Cape reed or any member of the indigenous restio family.

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General News Updates

2019 National Symposium on Biological Invasio…


This is your invitation to South Africa's 2019 National Symposium on Biological Invasions. The convention is hosted by the Centre for Invasion Biology (CIB), University of Stellenbosch, and the Biolo... Read more

2019 Invasive Species Training


During the past five years (2014-2018), ISSA invasive species trainers have trained 4 000 in the identification of invasive species and laws pertaining to invasive species across South Africa.  ... Read more

Alien Grass Working Group


Who are we? The South African National Alien Grass Working Group was jointly initiated by the South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the Centre for Excellence in Invasion Biology (C·I·B) in... Read more

Permits for planting indigenous Cynodon?


On 16 February, 2018, South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs issued amendments to the regulations and lists relating to the National List of Invasive Species.  Updates to the draft&n... Read more

Invasive species training 2018 dates released


Interested in invasive species?  How much do you know about NEMBA invasive species compliance for landowners and organs of state? The South African Green Industries Council (SAGIC) have released... Read more

Communications post for Africa advertised


The Nature Conservancy has advertised a brand new post:  Communications Manager, Africa Region. Knowledge of invasive species and water would be an asset in this post. See details below:    Job Titl... Read more