Cape ivy (Delairea odorata)

Cape ivy is a twining succulent climber and scrambler. It can be highly invasive.


How does this weed affect you?

Cape ivy can be highly invasive and suppresses native vegetation by carpeting the ground and climbing into the canopy.

What does it look like?

Cape ivy, a native of Africa, is a twining succulent climber and scrambler. The plant has bright green ivy shaped leaves, small kidney-shaped leaf structures that occur at the base of the leaves and small yellow daisy-like flower clusters from winter to early spring.

Where is it found?

Cape ivy grows in southern and eastern Australia, including New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia. It is mainly found in coastal parts of New South Wales south of Brunswick Heads.

Cape ivy comes from South Africa.

It is also a weed in New Zealand and the United States of America.

What type of environment does it grow in?

Cape ivy prefers to grow in damp, partially shady areas but will also grow in deep shade and full sun. It tolerates drought, waterlogging, and some salinity but is sensitive to frost. 

Cape ivy is found in:

  • woodlands, gullies, forests and coastal areas
  • waterways
  • neglected areas
  • gardens roadsides and fence lines.

How does it spread?

By plant parts

A new plant can grow from a root, or root fragment. This is called vegetative spread and happens locally when plants spread through root expansion.Vegetative spread can happen year-round and is the most common way cape ivy spread. Small root fragments establish easily and quickly.  Root fragments can also be spread by:

  • water
  • machinery e.g. slashers
  • dumping of green/garden waste
  • contaminated soil.
By seeds

Seeds can be spread in the same way, but also by:

  • animals
  • clothing
  • wind- their fine hairs act like a parachute. 

This plant was used in gardens. Plants should be removed and placed in your rubbish bin or composted. Do not dump garden waste into bushland.

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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.

PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Roundup®)
Rate: 1 part glyphosate to 50 parts water
Comments: Spot spray application
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate

PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Roundup®)
Rate: 1 part glyphosate to 1.5 parts water
Comments: Cut stump/scrape stem.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate

Picloram 44.7 g/kg + Aminopyralid 4.47 g/L (Vigilant II ®)
Rate: Undiluted
Comments: Cut stump application. Apply a 3–5 mm layer of gel across the cut surface on the rhizome.
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.

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For technical advice and assistance with identification please contact your local council weeds officer.
For further information call the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline on 1800 680 244 or send an email to

Reviewed 2014