Mikania vine (Mikania micrantha)

WEED ALERT: STATE PROHIBITED WEED
If you see this plant contact your council weeds officer, the NSW Invasive Plants & Animals Enquiry Line 1800 680 244 or email weeds@dpi.nsw.gov.au
Also known as: mile-a-minute

Profile

Impact

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.

Distribution

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.

Spread

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.

Description

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

  • Leaves are heart-shaped, tapering to a sharp point, 4–13 cm long and 2–9 cm wide. They occur in opposite pairs along the stem on a stalk 2–8 cm long.
  • Stems are slender, ribbed with fine white hairs; although some stems may be hairless.
  • Flowers are produced in a flat-topped cluster, where each flower head is 4.5–6 mm long and contains four individual whitish flowers 2–4 mm long. Flowering occurs mostly between May and October, but can take place all year if plants are exposed to full sunlight.
  • Seeds are black, 1.5–2 mm long, thin and flattened. Each seed has a ‘parachute-like’ tuft of fine whitish bristles (pappus) that are 2–3 mm long.

Habitat

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.

Acknowledgements

Reviewed by: Rod Ensbey   Edited by: Elissa van Oosterhout

References

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

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Control

Your local council weeds officer will provide information and assistance with identification and control of any suspected mikania plants.

Herbicide options

Contact your local council weeds officer for control advice for Mikania vine (Mikania micrantha).

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Legal requirements

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Noxious Weeds (Weed Control) Order 2014 published in the NSW Government Gazette, detailing weeds declared noxious in New South Wales, Australia, under the Noxious Weeds Act 1993. The Order lists the weed names, the control class and the control requirements for each species declared in a Local Control Authority area.

Area Class Legal requirements
All of NSW 1 State Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant

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Reviewed 2014