Moth plant – the pesty plant with pods

Collaborative action is one the strongest tools for managing biosecurity risks – so we all need to do our bit to stop the spread of Moth plant (kapok plant). Introduced to New Zealand from South America in the late 1880s, this fast growing vine can rapidly smother everything it twines and scrambles around. Sadly the flowers are bad news for butterflies, insects and bees too which can become trapped when feeding.

It’s currently ‘pod season’ across the rohe (region) which means that the fleshy, leathery, pear-shaped fruit are growing and ripening, and will shortly open to release masses of fluffy seeds that can travel long distances by wind to establish new vines. Moth plant is listed as a Sustained control pest plant in the Bay of Plenty Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) which means that property owners must take responsibility to control it. The easiest way to stop its spread right now though is to remove any pods from the vine before they release their seed.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council have produced a 3 minute ‘how to’ guide on why Moth plant is pesty and how to best control it.  To find out more go to