Mikania vine (Mikania micrantha)

PROHIBITED MATTER: If you see this plant report it. Call the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline 1800 680 244
Also known as: mile-a-minute, climbing hempvine, bitter vine

Mikania is a creeping or twining, branched vine with heart-shaped leaves that climbs up to 20 m high. It can smother native vegetation, plantation crops, forests and infrastructure.

Profile

How does this weed affect you?

Mikania vine grows so quickly that it is also known as ‘mile-a minute’. It:

  • smothers native vegetation including understorey plants and tall trees in the forest canopy
  • reduces food and habitat for native animals in subtropical forests
  • produces chemicals in the soil which suppress other plants
  • invades and smothers plantation crops, forestry trees and infrastructure.

What does it look like?

Mikania is a sprawling vine. It can grow up to 20 m high on supporting vegetation. Young shoots twine around the plant’s own main stem until it finds something else to grow on. If there is nothing to climb on, it grows along the ground. 

Leaves are:

  • heart-shaped, with the tip tapering to a sharp point
  • 4–13 cm long and 2–9 cm wide
  • hairless with toothed edges
  • on a stalk 2–9 cm long
  • in opposite pairs along the stem. 

Flowerheads are:

  • white or cream-coloured
  • 4.5–6.0 mm long
  • in clusters 
  • present mostly between May and October, but can grow all year in full sun.

Seeds are:

  • dark grey, brown or black
  • 1.5–2 mm long
  • thin and flattened with a ‘parachute-like’ tuft of fine whitish bristles that are 2–4 mm long.

Stems are:

  • slender and ribbed
  • usually with fine white hairs but sometimes hairless
  • soft or somewhat woody
  • able to produce roots.

Where is it found?

Mikania vine does not currently grow in NSW but coastal northern NSW has a suitable climate for this weed to spread if introduced.

In Australia, the first Mikania vine infestation was discovered in far north Queensland in 1998. An eradication campaign aims to get rid of the infestations in Queensland. 

Mikania vine is native to Central and South America.

It is a major weed of agriculture in the tropical areas of South and Southeast Asia and also a problem on Pacific and Indian Ocean islands.

What type of environment does it grow in?

Mikania vine thrives in open, sunny, disturbed areas. It grows best in warm and humid tropical climates with rich, damp soils and annual rainfall of more than 1000 mm. It can tolerate partial shade.

Maps and records

  • Recorded presence of Mikania vine during property inspections (Map: Biosecurity Information System - Weeds, 2017-2020)
    These records are made by authorised officers during property inspections under the Biosecurity Act 2015. Officers record the presence of priority weeds in their council area and provide this to the NSW Department of Primary Industries. Records reflect the presence of the weed on the date of inspection.

How does it spread?

By seed

Mikania vine can produce around 40,000 seeds per plant per year. The tuft of hairs on each seed helps the wind disperse the seeds. Water, animals and machinery can also transport seeds. 

By plant parts

Plants can grow from root pieces or stem fragments which form roots at the nodes. Cultivation practices can break up and spread viable stem fragments. These can be spread by machinery or water.

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

Please do not attempt to treat or dispose of this weed yourself. Report this plant if you see it anywhere in NSW by calling the helpline listed at the top of this page immediately.

NSW DPI will lead an initial response for the treatment and disposal of the plant to stop it from spreading.

Early detection

Since Mikania vine is not established in NSW, finding new infestations early gives us the best chance of eradicating it.

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 - 20g 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.
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
*all species in the genus Mikania are Prohibited Matter in NSW

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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