Madeira Vine is a vigorous climber that has become an invasive environmental weed particularly along our rivers and creeks. Madeira vine is native to South America and was originally used in Australia as an ornamental plant. Madeira vine is a twining vine with wide, fleshy, heart-shaped leaves. The flower spikes are cream-coloured and fragrant. Hundreds of knobbly tubers form along the vine and remain viable in the soil for 5-10 years.
This fast growing vine smothers both shrubs and trees, the weight of the vine can cause smaller trees to collapse and die. Madeira will also create a blanket over the ground preventing growth and germination of other native species. The tubers can be transported to new locations in times of flood and infestations can also occur through garden rubbish dumping.
Successful control of Madeira Vine requires all the tubers to be removed or killed. Control activities are long-term, and require regular follow-up for many years. Single control activities generally cause disturbance that results in vigorous regrowth and can lead to worse infestation levels unless dedicated follow-up occurs. Methods of treatment can include physical removal, scrape & paint and foliar spray. Never cut and paint Madeira Vine as the plant will drop all the tubers furthering the infestation.
There is also a biological control available being a leaf feeding beetle (Plectonycha correntina). Both the adult and larval stages feed on the leaves reducing the plant’s photosynthetic ability and depleting the energy stores in the tubers. The beetle should be released in a flood and frost free environment where no physical or chemical control is going to take place.