You may see it in bright green
clumps growing on top of some tree, shrub or fence, smothering it, and later on
in autumn, covered in long sprays of creamy flowers. Left alone, it will
overpower any plant in its way.
Madeira Vine is a
vigorously growing vine originating from the Amazon jungle. Often found twining
up your fence or shrubs, it has a grey-brown stem tapering to pale green, with
distinctive heart-shaped thick fleshy leaves. More mature vines have weird
knobbly growths like small potatoes along its length.
Control & Removal Methods
Control is easy if caught early. Each plant sprouts from a
shallow underground tuber, and regrows from this or the easily broken off stem
tubers which fall to the ground. So all below and above ground tubers need to be
removed and disposed of in the garbage.
Whilst young and less than 1
metre in length, simply lift out the plant, easing out the tuber from the soil
at its base. The underground tuber snaps readily, so be sure to get all bits. At
this stage the stem tubers will not have developed.
Beyond this stage the
plant is very quick growing and vigorous, with stem tubers growing rapidly. Once
it has taken off like this, pulling the vine down from trees will knock its
tubers to the ground where they’ll grow, so care must be taken: cutting and
gently removing small sections at a time, and/or laying a sheet on the ground
below to catch the tubers. By now the main underground tuber will have enlarged
and will require careful digging to get it all. Be aware that the tubers can lie
dormant in the soil for many years.