COMMON NAME: Madeira vine, Mignonette vine, Lamb’s tails, Potato vine, Jalap.
ORIGIN: South America
DESCRIPTION: It is an evergreen climber that grows from fleshy rhizomes. It has bright green, heart-shaped, fleshy shiny leaves 4–13 cm long. Wart-like tubers are produced on aerial stems and are a key to identifying the plant. It produces masses of small fragrant, cream flowers on dependent racemes, which may be up to 30 cm in length.
Anredera cordifolia can reproduce through the proliferation of tubers and also from rhizome fragments that may be broken off. Although this species has both male and female flowers they rarely reproduce sexually and produce seed. This species often spreads through its own vegetative growth, but can easily be transported by human activities. If fragments end up in waterways, they are easily transported to new locations in this manner.
REASON FOR INTRODUCING IT TO SOUTH AFRICA: Ornamental
INVASIVE STATUS IN SOUTH AFRICA; NEMBA Category 1b
PROBLEM: In Knysna this creeper has spread to all the suburbs, even Leisure Isle and Thesen Islands. It has become a huge problem in Steenbok Nature Reserve near King Fisher Creek. You will see it growing amongst the vegetation along the N2 towards the White Bridge. It also occurs in the Eastern Cape, most parts of the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Gauteng. Madeira vine can climb 40m into the tree canopy, smothering and collapsing mature trees.
CONTROL: Mature vines are controlled using the “scrape and paint” method, where the bark is scraped to expose the cambium layer and then painted with herbicide. Follow-up three times a year or more is required. Controlling Madeira vine requires exhaustion of the tuber bank and repeat treatments.