Avoid death by chocolate

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - WAIKATO WEEDWATCH

Fra­grantly scented it may be but chocolate vine is cer­tainly no sweetie when it comes to the en­vi­ron­ment.

Chocolate vine is a climber from cen­tral Asia with leaflets that form a hand shape and clus­ters of chocolate-pur­ple coloured flow­ers that smell like vanilla. Its fruits are flat­tened sausage-like pods con­tain­ing a pulpy core with many tiny black seeds.

Chocolate vine grows rapidly, form­ing a thick, tan­gled mat that com­pletely smoth­ers other plants. If it lacks a climb­ing sup­port, it will spread over the ground.

Al­though pre­fer­ring par­tial shade and cool, moist soil, it has proven to be tol­er­ant of a wide range of other con­di­tions in­clud­ing full sun, drought, frost and all soil types. It means the Waikato is a per­fect en­vi­ron­ment for it.

The plant spreads by stem frag­ments and seed dis­per­sal by birds. It has been banned from sale and landown­ers in the Waikato are re­quired to de­stroy it when they find it on prop­er­ties.

Dig out any small vines and seedlings, mak­ing sure you re­move root sys­tem, and dis­pose at a refuse trans­fer sta­tion. With larger vines, you can cut the stems at ground level and keep cutting them through­out grow­ing pe­ri­ods.

Larger in­fes­ta­tions can be sprayed with a her­bi­cide. Visit waika­tore­gion.govt.nz/choco­lat­evine or weed­busters.org.nz for more con­trol de­tails.

To re­place chocolate vine try the na­tive jas­mine akakiore (Par­son­sia het­ero­phylla) or ko­hia (Pas­si­flora tetran­dra). For non­na­tive al­ter­na­tives, try the at­trac­tive pur­ple coral pea (Har­den­ber­gia vi­o­lacea) or Chilean jas­mine (Man­dev­illa laxa).

-Supplied by Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil.

Chocolate vine pods. The pest plant is a climber from cen­tral Asia.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.