16 May 2023

Aberdeen University Conservation Society volunteers help Aberdeenshire Council tackle non-native plant

In the run up to Invasive Species Week (May 15-21), Aberdeen University Conservation Society volunteers travelled out to Deeside last week to help Aberdeenshire Council tackle a non-native plant which is invading our countryside.

Pirri pirri bur was introduced to the UK from New Zealand, originally brought over as an ornamental plant in the early 1900s and may have also arrived accidentally as seeds in imported wool.

It is a small low-growing plant which does not look very threatening but has become established along some sections of the Deeside Way path and is spreading along parts of this linear route. Once established it forms dense mats that in time will smother our native wildflowers such as wood anemone and wood sorrel. 

The plant bears ball-like seed-heads with hooks which attach to animals’ fur and people’s clothing, potentially transporting seed over long distances to colonise other areas.

The university students worked with council staff to dig up patches of pirri pirri bur alongside paths adjoining the Deeside Way in Dess Wood to try to contain plant growth and prevent further spread.

We can all do our bit to stop the spread of this invasive non-native species.

Please ensure that you do not take seeds on your clothing or dog’s fur to another site – remove, bag and bin them - but not in garden waste or compost bins.

If you see this plant, please take a note of where it is growing – a map grid reference or What3Words location is helpful - take a photo and email it to our local biological records centre at      

For more information see: