Ivy gourd is a vigorous perennial vine smothering over vegetation, including trees up to 8 to 10 metres in height.
Leaves are heart shaped or pentagonal, often with toothed margins, up to 10 cm wide and long. Leaves are arranged alternately on the stem.
Flowers are white with 5 petals that are fused at the base to form a cup.
Seeds ripe fruit are red, cigar shaped, 25 to 60 mm long, containing multiple tan coloured seeds 6 to 7 millimetres long.
Habitat Ivy gourd prefers riparian forest or along drainage lines, particularly in disturbed areas. It is likely to prefer seasonally wet areas of the dry tropics.
Weed characteristics this vine has demonstrated a high tolerance to salinity, so could potentially invade coastal areas. Where stems touch the ground, the vine produces adventitious roots which thicken and swell into underground tubers. It has been known to grow up to 10 cm per day and smothers native vegetation. It invades gardens and is a known agricultural weed.
Dispersal Seeds are spread by birds and wild pigs, but most dispersal is by humans
This vine is not yet declared in Queensland.
How to act
Successful treatments include both cut stump and basal bark treatments particularly if herbicide application extends to the exposed tubers. Small plants can be removed by hand. Hand pulling of plant material may require follow up foliar spraying of regrowth. Care should be taken to monitor site as underground tuberous root system can often need direct injection of herbicide to completely control infestation.
Refer to Weed Control Methods.
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