Madeira vine (Anredera cordifolia) Continuing in the vein of reminding our residents and informing our newcomers about the particularly undesirable invasive species in our area we revisit the Madeira vine in this edition.
The abundant rain and warm weather of the past months have certainly contributed to the astonishing proliferation of one of our worst invasive enemies Anredera cordifolia (Madeira vine, bridal wreath), which at this time of the year reminds us forcefully of its ability to invade our forests and smother riverine and other coastal vegetation. Numerous examples are in evidence by way of masses of fragrant, conspicuous white flower racemes and shiny lush green foliage completely obscuring tall trees and other vegetation on both sides of the Touw river and huge tracts of coastal scrub south of the N2 along the Dune, continuing in an easterly direction towards Kleinkrans, are also heavily infested. Anredera cordifolia’s invasive status is that of potential transformer, declared weed - category one (prohibited). The plant poses a very serious threat to our indigenous vegetation and is also poisonous.
Identification: Easily identified, the leaves are large, heart-shaped, bright green and glossy. The stems are a dark reddish colour. The leaves and stems are semi-succulent. The plant produces seed and also spreads by means of brittle underground rhizomes and aerial stem tubers. Flowers are long hanging racemes of tiny white flowers.
Control: This weed spreads freely and is difficult to control - any pieces of rhizome left in the soil will re-grow and the aerial stem tubers root readily after dropping to the ground. The herbicide Garlon (active ingredient Triclopyr) at a mix of 5ml to 1L water as a foliar spot spray on re-growth and seedlings is registered for control of this pest in our environment. Manual control is the most effective. Remove the entire plant and destroy all tubers by burning. Watch out diligently for any re-growth and follow-up by hand pulling before any new tubers can develop.
Substitutes: Several indigenous creepers and climbers fit the bill – the ever popular Thunbergia alata (Black-eyed Susan) in two stunning shades, yellow and orange, Senecio macroglossus (Flowering ivy), pale cream flowers and Jasminum multipartum (Starry Wild Jasmine), with white flowers are some delightful and rewarding alternatives.