TROOPS from Far North Coast Weeds are armed and ready to kill... bananas. They aren't out to destroy ordinary banana plants, but a newly discovered pest - the seeded banana. It looks like a normal banana plant but unfortunately, you can't eat the fruit.
The bananas are full of black seeds, which are easily spread by birds, bats and other animals.
These problem plants have been springing up in people's gardens and rainforest remnants in the areas of East Lismore and Nimbin.
FNCW has been working with the Department of Primary Industries and the Australian Banana Growers Council to learn how to control this potentially destructive plant, by stem-injecting the banana plants with a needle gun to kill them.
FNCW noxious weeds officer Kim Curtis took part in a recent training day and said seeded banana plants had the potential to spread plant diseases, such as bunchy top, which can destroy commercial banana crops.
"We need to control the problem now before they spread; they are even growing under canopy," Ms Curtis said. "Normally, banana plants propagate through growing from suckers.
"So, if you find a banana plant growing in your garden and you didn't plant it there, it's likely to be a seed banana."
Seed banana plants look similar to eating bananas but have longer mid-rib stalks than bananas. FNCW is seeking to have the plant declared a noxious weed. Anyone who finds these banana plants growing in their gardens should phone 66233833.