The other day as I raced into a southern storm I glimpsed a shrub defeating a power pole possum barrier – but the weather was too horrible to stop. Today we had more time but even driving both ways slowly we only found it at the last, almost back to the Glenham floodplain.
Australian brushtail possums are a very destructive Australian pest here. Their charming traits include climbing power poles and getting electrocuted – and shorting out the system. As a result utilities wrap the upper pole with an aluminium band to stop the creatures from getting to the top. It is fascinating though to see a plant bridging the gap.
This Pohuehue or Muehlenbeckia complexa was exploiting the flat open areas under the curved sheet barrier to climb ever upwards – given time it will do the job of the possum and electrocute itself! Nature has more time than us and will always defeat us in spite of anything we do.
New Zealand has five Muehlenbeckia species (groundcover, shrub and climbing forms) and I use two of them in landscapes; M. astonii and M. axilaris for their beauty and usefulness, they are also very attractive to insects, which in turn helps attract birdlife to the garden. M. complexa is really a bit too much of a thug in the garden!