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Cardiospermum Grandiflorum

 

Balloon Vine

 

Cardiospermum Grandiflorum.jpg 

Habitat

If suddenly you notice your garden or the bush draped in a light green cloak, pretty yet smothering, chances are you have the noxious weed, Balloon Vine. If not controlled it will spread to cover trees, fence and shed.

Description

When young, the plants are seen heading skywards, perhaps up trees or just into thin air, or trailing on the ground; when older, hanging in cascades of hemp-like stems. Seedlings appear as a miniature forest of delicate green, the taller plants beginning to elongate.

The softly hairy light-green leaves are divided into leaflets with ragged edges. From the stem at the base of each leaf stalk coils a wiry tendril. The thin stems are green and covered in light brown hairs, while the thick older stems are greyish and rough to the touch.

The flowers in mid-summer are small and white. These develop into the surest identifying feature: pale, papery, balloon-like cases about 4cm diameter, each containing three black seeds.

Noxious Weed Category: 4

Control & Removal Methods

Pull out seedlings and young plants and dig out the roots of mature vines. The vines up high will die when their stems are cut, and can be left. However if you prefer not to have dead drapery whilst the old vine breaks down, it can be pulled off without breaking your host plant by either getting up there and cutting it away, or pulling it like hauling in a fishing net, swinging the support tree (if it is supple) and pulling strongly and carefully as the tree swings towards you (and coiling the “rope”). Move to different sides of the tree as needs be, so not to pull branches back towards the trunk and break them.

Bin the seedcases. Cut up and compost the rest or put it out with Council’s Green Waste collectio