March's pest plant of the month is Madeira vine
Flowering Madeira vine, beginning to strangle red matipo (Myrsine australis).
Madeira Vine (Anredera cordifolia also known as Mignonette vine) is a really distinctive and really damaging pest plant. The tough, knobbly vines worm their way up, through, or over our native and garden plants, smothering, snapping branches with their weight, and eventually killing or toppling them. It mostly spreads through the nodules which grow along the vines and break off easily.
Twisted and rough stems and vines of Madeira vine showing the nodules.
It is more difficult to control when the plants are large, partly because they drop so many nodules. So get out there and find them while they are small and easy to pull up.
Madeira vine seedling with the nodule, new leaves and growing stem.
There are 2 things on our side in the battle to eradicate Madeira vine:
It doesn’t travel far. The nodules only fall where they are, and it doesn’t produce seeds. Without humans transporting the nodules in garden waste, it would likely never spread.
It’s also not as common as other weeds. If you can find it, and rid an area of it, it’s unlikely to re-infest.
So, do you want to join the mission to rid Kaipātiki of Madeira vine?
Recognise - Learn what it looks like
Report - If you see Madeira vine, report it to us. We now have a new Weed App for reporting locations of key weeds - get in touch to find out more.
Remove - Find out how to control the vine and get supplies from our Toolshed
Restore - Plant natives in its place, to stop it coming back, and to support our native wildlife
Learn to recognise the knobbly stems and vines, the flower spikes, the fleshy leave and the seedlings.
Madeira vine a.k.a. Mignonette vine • Weedbusters
See page 14 of the Plant me instead booklet
What does it look like?
Climbing vine with slender stems, often covered in nodules which break off.
Nodules grow on the stems of mature vines. You can sometimes find these on the floor around the vine. They are easily dislodged and are a key identification feature of this pest plant.
Leaves are often quite succulent, thick and squishy.
Flowers are white and usually appear January and April, in the form of long, hanging clusters.
Why is it weedy?
Reproduces by producing lots of knobbly tubers from the vines, which scatter and sprout easily in soil.
Forms dense mats that smother both young and mature vegetation, preventing our ecosystems from regenerating themselves.
Resistant to harsh conditions.
How does it spread?
Knobbly tubers are easily dislodged from mature plants, rolling down slopes and taking root.
It is often spread by dumped or waterborne nodules or roots.
Thankfully no seed is produced in New Zealand at this time.
What can I do to get rid of it?
Positively identify the plant you are looking at is an environmental weed. The fleshy or ‘succulent like’ leaves and the stem nodules are good clues.
Pull up small seedlings and ensure they are disposed of safely (i.e drowned in a barrel of water, dried and burnt, sent to a transfer station, seal in black weed bags for 12 months or more to decompose (sun will speed process) or deposited in a dedicated weed bag)
Cut vine close to the ground and paint the stump with met-gel* and then dedicate time to follow up this site and the regrowth of falling nodules you can expect for the months ahead
If you can monitor the plant (e.g. it’s on your property) try scraping the vine for several inches then paste gel on the scraped section, rather than cutting the vine - this is said to both kill the roots and also to reduce the risks of the nodules higher up the vine from developing further.
*Always read the labels when using herbicides. If working close to waterways or valuable trees, use a glyphosate based gel (such as Bamboo Buster™) instead. Use only a thin smear of gel, just enough to cover the surface without dripping, and only if rain is not forecast for next 8 hours.
If you have an area of pest plants threatening an area of bush or reserve near you, get in touch and we can help.
Find more information about pest plants on our other pages: