Sweet Pea Shrub

South Africa

General description

Sweet pea shrub is here defined as all Polygala myrtifolia cultivars, except the cultivar ‘Grandiflora’.

Evergreen perennial legume-like shrub < 2 m tall. Young stems are covered in short curly hairs. Stems are smooth, woody and many-branched. Leaves are oval, smooth and alternate. Flowers are sweet pea-like and borne in January – December. Seed capsules are flat and heart-shaped. Seeds are dark brown and hairy.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell sweet pea shrub. As sweet pea shrub is a National Pest Plant Accord species, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand.
  • You must not plant sweet pea shrub within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any sweet pea shrub on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.

Coastal areas, forest margins, scrubland, cliffs, open areas, tussocks.

Seeds dispersed by gravity, wind, water, possibly ants.

Forms dense stands, displacing native vegetation, especially coastal shrub species.

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

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
Cut stump and spray freshly cut base with 1g metsulfuron-methyl per 1 L of water

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user
Foliar spray with 5g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant

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

Search tags

RPMP status

National Pest Plant Accord Species
Whole region (Sustained Control)
Sweet pea shrub - Main species image