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Pampas grass home and wedding décor trend turning into biosecurity nightmare

A home and wedding décor trend is turning into a biosecurity nightmare with florists and the public illegally using pampas grass in displays, spreading the weed's invasive seeds.

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Kiwi florists and the public are illegally using pampas grass in displays. Source: 1 NEWS

While the bold and versatile plant is found across the country, its illegal use as decoration has also become widespread due to social media.

“Pinterest and Instagram - it's all their fault,” florist Rowan Cotterill told 1 NEWS.

"If you need the business and it's so popular, you're kind of in between a rock and a hard place between the moral standing and trying to make a living."

Conservation Department science advisor Clayson Howell called the trend "a little bit disappointing", but added that it was the Ministry for Primary Industries' job to enforce the rules.

“There is a big list but if they're in the trade and they do know, then we would hope they choose better alternatives,” he said.

While the pest has fluffy appeal, the windborne seeds which spread the plant take up space where natives could grow.

The plant is often confused with the native toetoe.

“The pampas grass ... is usually bigger, a lot more erect, bushier and a more pale colour,” Cotterill said.

Pampas can also be bought online, with MPI finding the grass at the border five times in the past year.

However, the government agency is not in communication with other countries about the invasive plant and there is no awareness campaign around its potential harm.

"I didn’t know it was unlawful," florist Celeste Shotter said.

"I just thought it was kind of not the done thing."

Shotter said while she does not sell pampas in bouquets, she does hire out displays.

1 NEWS spoke to several florists, who said while they recommended for customers not to choose the weed, arrangements can be made with the plant if they wish to proceed.

“I think we kind of just need to speak up a little bit more, work together to make people more knowledgeable about it,” Cotterill said.

MPI is calling for the public to raise their concerns with florists when they see breaches and to contact the agency if necessary.