Rubber vine (Cryptostegia grandiflora)

PROHIBITED MATTER: If you see this plant report it to the NSW Invasive Plants & Animals Enquiry Line 1800 680 244



Rubbervine is a many-stemmed shrub that can climb 30 m into tree canopies or grow to an unsupported height of 3 m. The roots can grow to a depth of 12 m.

This invasive plant threatens pastoral areas, waterways, woodlands and rainforests throughout north-eastern Australia and has the potential to spread into new areas.


Rubbervine is native to southwestern Madagascar. It has become a weedy species in countries throughout East Africa, Southeast Asia, the United States and Central and Southern America.

In Australia it was planted in the 1860s in the gardens of mining towns in northern Queensland. Weedy infestations were reported by 1917. During the Second World War it was cultivated as a potential source of rubber, resulting in its further spread.

It has a potential distribution that covers all of northern Queensland, the northern part of the Northern Territory, and most of the Kimberly and Pilbara regions of Western Australia. There are no known infestations in New South Wales (NSW); however parts of north-eastern NSW could become affected.

Distribution map


Rubbervine reproduces by seed. A hectare of rubbervine can produced millions of seeds each year and 95% of these seeds are viable. The seed is not long lived and if conditions are too dry to allow germination, most of the seed will die after one year. The spread of rubber vine into new areas is typically via wind-blown seed (short distances) or by seeds carried in water (longer distances). Seed pods float downstream in waterways and as a result, the seed is spread through catchments. Seeds can remain viable for more than a month within the seed pod, even when the pods are floating in salt water. Seed can also be spread by birds and in mud attached to vehicles, machinery or animals.


Rubbervine stems are greyish brown with smooth bark. The stem exudes a milky sap when broken. There are two forms of stems. One is a leaf-bearing, branched stem and the other is a longer, unbranched ‘whip’ with fewer leaves, able to extend onto nearby vegetation.

Key identification features

  • Leaves are oval-shaped with tapered ends (6–10 cm long; 3–5 cm wide). The glossy, dark green leaves occur in pairs.
  • Flowers are trumpet-shaped (up to 5 cm long and wide) with five light-purple-to-white petals.
  • Seed pods are rigid (up to 12 cm long; 4 cm wide) and usually occur in pairs at the end of short stalks. They can also commonly occur as single pods and less frequently as triple pods.
  • Seeds are brown, flat and have a tuft of long, white, silky hairs at one end. Each pod contains 340–840 seeds.


Rubbervine grows on all soil types, but successful germination is more likely on soils that retain moisture, and infestations are currently restricted to areas where summer rainfall is 400–1400 mm. 


Adapted by AnDi Communications from the CRC for Australian Weed Management Weed Management Guide: Rubber vine.

Reviewed by Rod Ensbey.

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Your local council weeds officer will assist with identification, control information and removal and eradication of this weed. Infestations can be spread by inappropriate control activities.

Herbicide options

Users of agricultural or veterinary chemical products must always read the label and any permit, before using the product, and strictly comply with the directions on the label and the conditions of any permit. Users are not absolved from compliance with the directions on the label or the conditions of the permit by reason of any statement made or not made in this information. To view permits or product labels go to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website

See Using herbicides for more information.

Metsulfuron-methyl 600 g/kg (Brush-off®)
Rate: 15 g per 100 L of water
Comments: Hand gun application. Do not apply to bushes more than 3 m tall. Apply October to April, ensuring thorough spray coverage of all foliage.
Withholding period: Nil (recommended not to graze for 7 days before treatment and for 7 days after treatment to allow adequate chemical uptake in target weeds).
Herbicide group: B, Inhibitors of acetolactate synthase (ALS inhibitors)
Resistance risk: High

Picloram 100 g/L + Triclopyr 300 g/L + Aminopyralid 8 g/L (Grazon Extra®)
Rate: 350 or 500 mL in 100 L of water
Comments: Hand gun application
Withholding period: Where product is used to control woody weeds in pastures there is a restriction of 12 weeks for use of treated pastures for making hay and silage; using hay or other plant material for compost, mulch or mushroom substrate; or using animal waste from animals grazing on treated pastures for compost, mulching, or spreading on pasture/crops.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate

Triclopyr 240 g/L + Picloram 120 g/L (Access™ )
Rate: 1.0 L per 60 L of diesel
Comments: Basal bark and cut stump application.
Withholding period: Nil
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate

Triclopyr 600 g/L (Garlon® 600)
Rate: 1.0 L per 60 L of diesel
Comments: Basal bark and cut stump application.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate

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Biosecurity duty

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Biosecurity Act 2015 and its subordinate legislation, and the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans (published by each Local Land Services region in NSW). It describes the state and regional priorities for weeds in New South Wales, Australia.

Area Duty
All of NSW General Biosecurity Duty
All plants are regulated with a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk they may pose. Any person who deals with any plant, who knows (or ought to know) of any biosecurity risk, has a duty to ensure the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.
All of NSW Prohibited Matter
A person who deals with prohibited matter or a carrier of prohibited matter is guilty of an offence. A person who becomes aware of or suspects the presence of prohibited matter must immediately notify the Department of Primary Industries

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For technical advice and assistance with identification please contact your local council weeds officer.
For further information call the NSW Invasive Plants and Animals Enquiry Line on 1800 680 244 or send an email to

Reviewed 2017