Mirror bush (Coprosma repens)

Family: Rubiaceae

Growth Habit: Mirror bush can grow up to 8m in height, although it is almost always seen as a shrub between 1 and 2 metres.

The leaves are in opposite pairs and semi-succulent, bright green with a glossy upper surface, and duller green underneath. They are 2-8 cm long by 1-5 cm wide with recurved leaf margins. Stems are also  fleshy, greenish-grey becoming woody with age.

Type of Plant: A dense evergreen spreading shrub or tree.

Flowers: Inconspicuous pale green or whitish clusters of flowers occur along the stem, but are normally hidden by the dense outer foliage. Separate male and female plants (dioecious). Flowering time: Nov-Dec.

Fruit/Seed: Two small seeds are produced in many bright orange-red succulent, ovoid berries 8mm round.

Dispersal: Birds eat the berries and later pass the seeds. Can also root from stems where they touch the ground.

Distribution: Found throughout Tasmania in gardens, amenity plantings and bushland.

Status: Undeclared in Tasmania, but is considered a significant environmental weed.

Weed Impact:

  • Mirror bush is capable of forming dense colonies in native bushland, displacing native flora and fauna and impeding revegetation.
  • It’s canopy will smother all other vegetation.
  • It’s succulent orange fruits are spread by birds into many bushland areas including swamp forests, dunes and sea-cliff scrub.
  • Very hardy, tolerating drought, salt, frost and most soil types, common in coastal environments.

For further information contact the Department of Primary Industry, Parks, Water and Environment, Tasmania.

Control Methods:

  • Grow other species instead, such as: Mexican Orange Blossom (Choisya ternata), Yellow Dogwood (Pomaderris elliptica), native Coprosma species, or the hardy non-invasive Coprosma ‘Evening Glow’.
  • Grubbing (all year). Small plants/ seedlings.
  • Herbicide (summer, spring and autumn). Herbicides registered in Tasmania include glyphosate and triclopyr + picloram. The cut-stump technique is useful on larger plants.

N.B. Always check the herbicide label before use.