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Stòras Uibhist has set its sights on a new pest invading the community-owned estate - Gunnera, a non-native invasive species commonly known as ‘Giant Rhubarb’.

The estate is joining forces with Community Land Outer Hebrides to address the problem of Gunnera across the estate as part of a wider Outer Hebrides project to eliminate the plant.

It is thought Gunnera was introduced to the Outer Hebrides about two decades ago as an ornamental garden plant. Though native to South America, the plant thrives in the mild, wet climate of the islands and can rapidly spread from gardens onto neighbouring crofts and hills.

Mature Gunnera plants can grow to a height of two metres, with its large leaf shading and out-competing native plants. However, they can also cause problems by blocking ditches and access tracks.

It is feared that if left to its own devices, Gunnera will take over grazings and significantly impact biodiversity.

The estate is now looking to the community to support the eradication efforts.

Says Stòras Uibhist: “The first steps are to understand the scale of the problem to allow us to know where to best use resources to control further spread. You can help by recording and reporting the location of Gunnera plants using grid references or the What 3 Words app.”

The report can also be made using this online form.

In the meantime, the estate is looking for individuals to help spray Gunnera plants and halt their spread. Appropriate training, equipment and PPE to undertake this work will be provided.