Sweet but deadly

Taupo Times - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE -

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 sausage­like pods con­tain­ing a pulpy core with many tiny black seeds.

Un­for­tu­nately, 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 main meth­ods for the plant to spread are by way of stem frag­ments and seed dis­per­sal by birds.

Chocolate vine has re­cently been banned from sale and landown­ers in the Waikato are re­quired to de­stroy it when they find it on their prop­er­ties.

Dig out any small vines and seedlings, mak­ing sure that you re­move the root sys­tem, and dis­pose of them 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 suit­able her­bi­cide.

Weed Watch is sup­plied by Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil.

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