Mikania is a creeping or twining perennial vine capable of growing to 20 m high on supporting vegetation. It can smother native vegetation, plantation crops, forests and infrastructure, and is known as ‘mile-a-minute’ due to its rapid growth rate.
Mikania is invasive under tree crops and in the understorey of forests. It is able to grow up through the canopy of a forest and is a serious threat to the biodiversity of tropical and sub-tropical forest ecosystems.
Mikania produces toxins which, when released into the soil, reduce the growth of other plants such as native vegetation, crops and plantations.
Mikania is native to Central and South America, from Mexico to Argentina and the Caribbean region.
It is a major weed of agriculture in the tropical areas of South and Southeast Asia, including China and Malaysia, where it has reportedly reduced yields in a number of plantation crops. It is also an invasive pest on Pacific and Indian Ocean islands, including Indonesia and Papua New Guinea
In Australia the first infestations of mikania were discovered in far north Queensland in 1998 at Ingham and Bingil Bay near Tully. It now occurs at a number of locations in north Queensland and is subject to an ongoing eradication campaign.
It has a potential distribution that covers the coastal regions of Northern Territory, northern Western Australia, Queensland and northern New South Wales (NSW).
Mikania is not known to be present in NSW.
A mikania plant is capable of producing around 40 000 seeds each year. These small seeds are equipped with a pappus which assists wind dispersal and can be transported some distance from the original plant. Seeds can also be dispersed via animals, water and machinery.
Mikania is also able to reproduce vegetatively from stem fragments that take root at their nodes. Fragments can be spread by machinery and water. Cultivation practices can also break up and spread viable stem fragments.
Mikania is a rapidly-growing multi-stemmed vine that prefers to climb over already established plants or structures. Young lateral shoots will twine around a plant’s own main stem until other support is found. In the absence of support it grows prostrate along the ground.
Key identification features
Mikania thrives in open, sunny, disturbed areas, but will also tolerate partial shade. It prefers warm and humid tropical climates with rich damp soils and an annual rainfall over 1000 mm.
Reviewed by: Rod Ensbey Edited by: Elissa van Oosterhout
Queensland Government—Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (2011) Fact sheet—Mikania vine Mikania micrantha
Hosking JR, Sainty GR, Jacobs SWL & Dellow LL (in prep) The Australian WeedBOOK
Your local council weeds officer will provide information and assistance with identification and control of any suspected mikania plants.
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State Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant