Declared Plant Policy
False caper (Euphorbia terracina)
False caper (Euphorbia terracina) is perennial from the coastal sand dunes bordering the
Mediterranean, and is now quite widespread in SA on sandy soils long the coast, extending
inland especially in areas with calcareous sands. It also occurs in shallow calcareous soils
and to a small extent in better soils. It does not appear to persist in frequently cultivated
soils, however it is a common weed in old lucerne stands in parts of the South East and
It is avoided by livestock, probably due to the irritant milky sap it contains. This allows it to
dominate in poorly managed pastures, or in areas which are stony or have deep sands
which make renovation difficult.
Local control boards have poor records of the distribution of widespread weeds such as
false caper. It appears to be established in most districts which are suitable for its growth.
It is not as widespread as horehound. False caper appears frequently on disturbed
roadsides, especially on shallow soils with high calcium carbonate. It is most abundant on
abandoned pastures, stock routes, roadsides and deep sands.
Mechanisms for spread of false caper are unclear. Some local spread is no doubt due to
movement of soil and road building material contaminated with seed. Livestock avoid the
plant but some, especially sheep, may ingest seed and this may have been the major
mechanism for its spread to its present distribution. Some may also have been spread in
fodder, especially lucerne hay.
Meeting the criteria
False caper is not a weed of pastures in most soil types or a weed of cropping.
False caper does not clearly fit the criteria for a declared plant. The areas at risk of
invasion need to be studied further. Until the status and potential of false caper are
evaluated it should remain declared at least in areas where control boards actively enforce
Co-ordinated Control Program
Allow for currently applied control program to continue while the future of enforced
false caper control is reviewed fully.
a) To prevent the introduction of false caper seed to suitable environments for
b) To minimise spread from generally infested areas.
a) NRM authorities to ensure all small infestations likely to spread in areas
generally free of false caper are controlled.
b) NRM authorities to control all small infestations likely to be spread on road
reserves and after specific approval from the Chief Officer, on stock routes.
Priorities for NRM Authorities
a) Identify key areas where false caper is likely to contaminate fodder or
b) Develop local control programs.
c) Implement co-ordinated programs.
d) Enforce control where necessary.
To implement this policy false caper is declared for the whole State. Landholders are
required to control plants growing on their own properties, and NRM authorities are
required to control plants on road reserves. The costs of control on road reserves is met by
The following sections of the Natural Resources Management Act, 2004 apply to false
caper throughout the State:
175(2) Prohibiting movement on public roads.
177(1)(2) Prohibiting sale of plants or contaminated material
182(2)(3) Requiring landholders to control plants on their properties.
185(1) Allowing recovery of costs of control on road reserves from adjoining