Flowering cherry has spread from gardens planted by settlers near Mount Cook Village before it became a national park.
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is the site of the worst infestation in the project area, with thousands of flowering cherry spreading throughout native shrublands near the village. It is a tree that can form forests which overtop and suppress native species so there is a risk it will completely alter the look of the area, shading out the native woody vegetation.
Flowering cherry also grow around twice as fast as native shrubs and reproduce fast.
If not controlled it was thought it could spread as far as the moraines of the Tasman and Mueller Glaciers’ over 30-50 years.
Photos Robyn Janes, Peter Willemse