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      Harris & Scalpay News

North Harris Trust appears to be winning its war of attrition against gunnera, an invasive non-native plant species.

The community-owned estate has just published before and after pictures of a site near the Urgha Depot.

One was taken in 2019, and the other in 2023. The difference is quite stark.

The North Harris Trust has made tackling Gunnera (gunnera tinctoria) a priority over the last 14 or so years and has met with significant success, testing numerous treatment methods.

Gunnera tinctoria, or giant rhubarb, is a large-leaved plant from Chile which can grow up to two metres in height. It became a very popular ornamental species in gardens and parks in temperate areas from the middle of the 19th century. By the 1930s, and more extensively since the 1960s, it became naturalised on the west coasts of Scotland and Ireland, southwest England, Scotland, the Azores, the coast of California and New Zealand, where dense local infestations are found on coastal cliffs.

The species, a threat to native vegetation, is spread by discarded roots and stems and by birds.