ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Top Reasons Not To Plant Duranta

Updated on April 7, 2012

Duranta erecta or Golden Dewdrop is a widely planted, but rather horrid plant here in Australia. I strongly recommend that anyone considering buying and planting Duranta consider some more friendly alternatives instead. Here are some of the reasons why I think Duranta should not be planted in the home garden, especially within Australia.


It’s becoming a weed

Non-sterile varieties of Duranta have the potential to become serious environmental weeds. It produces masses of small orange berries after flowering which are attractive to some species of bird. Birds that pig out on the berries then distribute the seeds far and wide in their droppings. If the bird is lucky enough to be able to defecate over a patch of native bushland the seeds may germinate and can out-compete native species.


Duranta is spread by certain species of birds that find the berries irresistible.
Duranta is spread by certain species of birds that find the berries irresistible. | Source

It’s murdered people, and it doesn’t like pets

Both the leaves and the berries of Duranta are toxic (although not to the birds that spread them as it seems) due to the presence of plant chemicals known as saponins. This plant can be deadly to pets, the reported death toll of pets this plant has caused in Australia alone includes six puppies, a cat and some pet parrots and finches. In the late 19th century a two year old lad died in Queensland after eating the berries. Symptoms of Duranta poisoning are most unpleasant and include an upset stomach, drowsiness, nausea, fever, vomiting and convulsions.


It’s over-used in commercial landscapes

I see Duranta planted everywhere in the car parks of unit blocks and commercial properties, it’s not very exciting and has been done to death. McDonald’s in an uninspired attempt to make their gardens match their corporate branding chose a few virtually un-killable plants to plant in the gardens outside most of their stores in Australia. They often plant Rhoeo to represent the red backdrop (Rhoeo is more purple in colour but hey it’s close enough I guess) and for the golden arches themselves they often use a hedged cultivar of Duranta called ‘Sheena’s Gold’ which has yellow leaves when exposed to full sun. Ask yourself this question? Do you really want your garden to look like a McDonald’s drive through or some other commercial afterthought?


It’s horribly spiky and itchy

Branches of Duranta have 2cm long spines all the way along them that can easily pierce or scratch skin and are tough enough to even puncture through gardening gloves. The spines if they break inside the skin are difficult to remove as they can be quite deep. I find also that even when I’ve only been pricked or scratched lightly, the area of skin around the wound will become very irritated and itch like mad. Duranta reportedly can cause dermatitis just from being handled.


Duranta flowers, some varieties such as 'Geisha Girl' can be very pretty and have deep purple petals with lighter margins.
Duranta flowers, some varieties such as 'Geisha Girl' can be very pretty and have deep purple petals with lighter margins. | Source

It can grow into a monster

If you have the motivation to prune your Duranta every month this may not be an issue. But if you’re a lazy gardener and let it grow it can soon reach epic proportions with some varieties reaching 5m tall by 5m wide. At this point they are very difficult to remove with seriously cutting up your arms in the process. Because Duranta is a dense shrub they also have the potential envelope and block the light from reaching anything planted around them, and I’ve seen them create a monoculture in bushland in a similar vein to Lantana (which like Duranta is in the family Verbenaceae) only taller.


Off cuts take forever to break down

The first time I pruned the Duranta growing around the house I rent, I made the mistake of putting cut up pieces of Duranta into the compost. Once the compost was ready to use I mixed it through the soil where I was planning to establish a vegetable patch. To my horror when I went to plant my vegetable seedlings my hands were picked by the spines on the Duranta off cuts. Over a year later my hands still occasionally get pricked by the off cuts which are still yet to fully break down in the soil.


What to plant instead of Duranta

There are a couple of native Australian species that can be planted instead of Duranta. Graptophyllum illicifolium or Native Holly Fuchsia as its name suggests has holly shaped leaves and produces masses of deep pink flowers. It will not grow much larger than 2m tall and likes some protection from the sun so is best planted under a tree canopy. Another suitable replacement would be Syzygium australe, a type of lily pilly. Many different cultivars of S. australe have been bred to suit every purpose, many of which can be hedged. S. australe produces white, fluffy, staminate flowers which are followed by plump, glossy red berries that are edible but astringent.


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)