This noxious vine climbs all over other
plants and scrambles across the ground. It is often found growing in old,
neglected gardens and where people have been dumping garden rubbish. It favours
disturbed, damp areas. It is particularly troublesome where it is growing in
amongst rubble dumped on the edge of bushland.
Turkey Rhubarb has distinctly
arrowhead-shaped, light green leaves. The stems have purplish ridges running
along the length. The flowers form on the end of the stem and produce large
clusters of three-winged capsules which are green to purplish at first, then
turning papery and brown around a three-sided seed.
This weed produces
tubers below the ground. Large tubers, up to 15 cm long, form near the base of
the plant. From the top of these large tubers underground stems grow out, with
more tubers growing on these stems. Turkey Rhubarb can regrow from the tubers or
from the seed. Seedlings send down a taproot which quickly starts to swell to
form a tuber.
Control & Removal Methods
To remove the
plant, firstly you will need to cut off any papery clusters containing the
seeds. Then use a trowel or mattock to carefully lift the tuber at the base of
the stem to locate those underground stems which run from the top of the tuber.
Carefully scrape the soil away from these stems to locate the smaller tubers
along the length so that these can be removed. All tubers and underground stems
must be removed - these can be bagged and put out in the green waste
Continue to check the area for some time as any mature plants
will have dropped seed over the years and these will germinate readily in the
disturbed soil. Any tubers that have been missed will also reshoot. It can be
difficult to get out all the tubers at the one time if the soil is rocky or
filled with rubble.