NZ Lifestyle Block - - Country Smile -

CHO­CO­LATE VINE is adored for its strong vanilla-scented flow­ers and seem­ingly be­nign growth habit, but there’s an im­por­tant rea­son why it is now banned from sale, prop­a­ga­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion within New Zealand.

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 it prefers 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. The main meth­ods of spread are by way of stem frag­ments and seed dis­per­sal by birds.

It’s easy to spot at this time of year with its clus­ters of de­mure, vanilla-scented brown­ish-pur­ple flow­ers which ap­pear from Au­gust to Oc­to­ber, and these are oc­ca­sion­ally fol­lowed by cream, flat­tened sausage-like pods (8-9cm long) which con­tain a pulpy core with many tiny black seeds.

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