Danger­ous vines

Taupo Times - - OUT & ABOUT - WAIKATO WEED WATCH

With spring al­most upon us, sev­eral of Waikato’s worst weeds are start­ing to show their wares.

One of them is the ‘‘sprinter’’ known as Mile-a-minute.

Orig­i­nally from South Africa, Mile-a-minute is a fast ever­green grow­ing vine that has an ex­ten­sive trail­ing stem sys­tem.

It can smother and kill most plants from ground level to medium tree canopy and pre­vents the es­tab­lish­ment of na­tive plant seedlings. It thrives in bare sites and in­creases ni­tro­gen in im­pov­er­ished soil types, po­ten­tially chang­ing the species that can grow there.

Mile-a-minute can be recog­nised by its at­trac­tive pealike flow­ers of pur­ple, red, pink and white shad­ings.

It is gen­er­ally found in­vad­ing for­est mar­gins, coast­lines, river­side cliffs, shrub lands, and rocky and lime­stone ar­eas.

The flow­ers are 1 to 1.5 cen­time­tres and are fol­lowed by boat-shaped seed pods that are 3-4 cm long.

The weed has three tri­an­gu­lar/ heart-shaped leaflets mea­sur­ing about 2.5 to 5.5cm long and stems are mod­er­ately hairy and woody to­wards their base.

In New Zealand, it is banned from sale, prop­a­ga­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion and Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil aims to stop its spread in the re­gion.

It is classed as an ‘‘erad­i­ca­tion’’ plant un­der the Waikato Re­gional Pest Man­age­ment Plan. There­fore it is the coun­cil’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to con­trol the plant.

Con­tact the coun­cil’s Biose­cu­rity team on 0800 BIOSEC (246 732) if you see this plant.

For more in­for­ma­tion waika­tore­gion.govt.nz/plant­pests or weed­busters.co.nz.

- Waikato Weed Watch is pro­vided by the Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil.

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