Environmental Services
Corporate Programmes
  Integrated Training Area Management Programme
  Environmental Considerations in Operations
  Base Environmental Management Programmes
  Environmental Management System
  Environmental Education, Awareness and Training
Co-operative Governance Initiatives
  Pom Pom Weed Management
  Energy Efficiency Initiative
  Operation VUSELELA
  Water Efficiency Initiative
  Integrated Wildlife Hazard Management
  Game Management
Annual Environmental Awards

Pom Pom Weed Management

The pompom weed (Campuloclinium macrocephalum) grows in large numbers along the roadsides, in grasslands and on many military bases and units especially in the Gauteng, North West, Free State and KwaZulu Natal Provinces during the summer season and is visible as beautiful pink flowers. A natural reaction is to stop and cut the flowers to take home. Attractive as its flowers may be, this plant spells trouble for our environment. It is the worst kind of invasive alien weed, which has been lurking prettily and silently for some time not only to replace veld grasses as food for cattle, but to degrade the soil and edge out colonies of indigenous grassland orchids and wild flowers.

This weed is indigenous to South America belonging to the daisy family. It is a tall unpalatable herb with several erect green or purplish stems with conspicuous light purple to pink flowerheads. Hundreds of seeds are dispersed by a single flowerhead. The fleshy tuber-like roots deprive soil of nutrients and water, making it difficult for wild flowers, veld grasses to establish and flourish in its vicinity. As a result, it gradually replace the more palatable plant species and this tends to become one of the only surviving plant species in grazing areas. It reproduces from its roots as well as through the spreading of seeds and this is the reason why the weed has become so widespread. By allowing its stems, leaves and flowers to die back in winter and storing plenty of nutrients in its root, it is able to survive frost and fires and is one of the first plants to start growing in spring. If the spread of this weed is not controlled, it will take over the entire grassland biome in South Africa.

The DOD with the assistance of the National Department of Agriculture (NDA) and the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) have embarked on the control and ultimate eradication of this weed occurring on military properties. Click here for more information. Click here for SAPIA News.