Corky passionfruit (Passiflora suberosa)

Corky passionfruit is a climbing vine with small passionfruit flowers and small berries. It spreads quickly and smothers other plants.

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How does this weed affect you?

Corky passionfruit is a weed in native vegetation and agricultural land. It

  • grows quickly
  • smothers small trees, shrubs and groundcover plants
  • may stop other plants from growing
  • is poisonous.

It can also be a problem in sugar cane and native tree plantations.

Poisoning

Corky passionfruit leaves and unripe fruit contains cyanogenic glycosides. These toxins cause cyanide poisoning if eaten.

Human poisoning

Eating unripe fruit or leaves may cause vomiting or diarrhea.

What to do if a person is poisoned:

  • If the patient is unconscious, unresponsive or having difficulty breathing dial 000 or get to the emergency section of a hospital immediately.
  • If the patient is conscious and responsive call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 or your doctor.
  • If going to a hospital take a piece of the plant for identification.
Livestock poisoning

Cattle, pigs and occasionally sheep have been poisoned. Symptoms include staggering, convulsions muscle tremors and sometimes diarrhea or constipation. 

What does it look like?

Corky passionfruit is a slender, climbing or creeping vine with distinct passionfruit flowers. They have lots or tightly coiled tendrils that grow out of leaf forks.

Leaves:

  • dark green with pointy tips
  • usually with 3 lobes (sometimes no lobes)
  • 3-10 cm long
  • alternate along stems
  • on stalks 5-20 mm long
  • with small glands halfway along the leaf stalks

Flowers:

  • similar looking to edible passionfruit flowers
  • 10-30 mm wide
  • a ring of yellow or white threads with a purple base sitting above pale green ‘petals’
  • present most of the year.

Fruit:

  • round berries
  • 6-15 mm diameter 
  • pale green, turning purple-black when ripe.

Seeds:

  • flattened
  • wrinkled
  • 3-4 mm long.

Stems:

  • round or sometimes angular
  • up to 20 mm thick
  • smooth or hairy
  • older stems are corky
  • up to 6 m long.

Roots:

It has a deep taproot.

Similar looking plants

Corky passionfruit looks similar to other Passiflora species, including: 

  • white passion flower (P. subpeltata), which has hairless leaves with rounded lobes.
  • stinking passion vine (P. foetida), which has hairy leaves

Corky passionfruit also has smaller flowers and fruit than these other plants. 

Where is it found?

Corky passionfruit grows in northern and eastern Australia, including the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales. It grows in the coastal districts of northern and central New South Wales.

It is native to southern parts of the United States of America and South America. It is a weed in many countries throughout the pacific region. 

What type of environment does it grow in?

Corky passionfruit grows best in full sun in subtropical or tropical climates. It is found in:

  • forests
  • woodlands
  • urban bushland
  • gardens
  • waterways
  • under fenclines
  • disturbed areas.

It will also grow in shady areas in temperate climates.

How does it spread?

Birds and other animals eat the ripe fruit and spread the seeds.

More information

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Control

Corky passionfruit can be controlled by:

  • hand pulling 
  • slashing or removal of above ground growth
  • herbicides.

Removing plants before they seed is the most effective way to control them.

Early detection

Learn to identify corky passionfruit and remove plants early to reduce the chance of spread. Small plants are easier to dig up.

Slashing and mulching

Stems can be mown, or whipper-snipped regularly, but this will probably only suppress growth, not kill the plant. Cutting stems down over many years may eventually exhaust the root system.

Physical removal

Seedlings and small patches of corky passionfruit can be hand pulled if the roots are not too deep. This can be done year-round but will be easiest when the soil is damp. Try not to break the stem off from the roots because the plant can regrow. 

Chemical control

Herbicides can be applied using a number of techniques including:

  • spot spraying 
  • cut, scrape and paint
  • splatter gun
  • wipe onto leaves
  • basal barking.

Herbicide options

WARNING - ALWAYS READ THE LABEL
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 www.apvma.gov.au

See Using herbicides for more information.


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Fluroxypyr 200 g/L (Starane™)
Rate: 500 mL to 1 L per 100 L water
Comments: Spot spray
Withholding period: 7 days.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Fluroxypyr 200 g/L (Starane™)
Rate: 35 mL per L diesel/kerosene
Comments: Basal bark
Withholding period: 7 days.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Fluroxypyr 333 g/L (Starane™ Advanced)
Rate: 300 to 600 mL per 100 L water
Comments: Spot spray
Withholding period: 7 days.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Fluroxypyr 333 g/L (Starane™ Advanced)
Rate: 21 mL per L diesel/kerosene
Comments: Basal bark
Withholding period: 7 days.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Roundup®)
Rate: One part product to 50 parts water
Comments: Spot spray
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: One part product to 1.5 parts water
Comments: Cut scrape and paint
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: One part product to 9 parts water
Comments: Splatter gun
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: One part product to 20 parts water
Comments: Wipe onto leaves
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Metsulfuron-methyl 600 g/kg (Brush-off®)
Rate: 10 - 20 g per 100 L water plus surfactant
Comments: Spot spray
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


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Metsulfuron-methyl 600 g/kg (Brush-off®)
Rate: 10 g per 1 L of water plus surfactant
Comments: Wipe onto leaves
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


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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 weeds@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Reviewed 2020