Bear's Breeches

Also known as:
Bear's Foot
Europe, North Africa

General description

Perennial herb < 120 cm tall. Roots are thick. Leaves are large, multi-lobed, shiny and borne on < 50 cm petioles from the root crown or < 2 cm petioles from the stem. Flowers are white with pink/purple/brown veins and borne on a central spike in October-April. Seed capsules are 3-4 cm long, beaked and contain one flattened seed.

What you need to know

Although bear’s breeches is not a legally declared pest plant, it may still be invasive in some situations. Consider lower risk alternatives for your garden, such as native plants.

Coastal areas, disturbed forest, riparian margins, wasteland, urban areas, roadsides.

Seeds dispersed by gravity and water. Vegetative spread from root fragments. Human-mediated dispersal through dumping of garden waste.

Can form dense infestations and outcompete native plants. Allelopathic.

Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds and roots

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications
Cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with metsulfuron gel

Basic Growsafe certified
Foliar spray with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L of water

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

RPMP status

Not a legally declared pest plant
Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest
Bear's breeches - Main species image