Spring is on the way, bringing new cycle of weeds
With spring almost upon us, several of Waikato's worst weeds are starting to show their wares.
One of them is the "sprinter" known as Mile-a-minute.
Originally from South Africa, Mile-a-minute is a fast evergreen growing vine that has an extensive trailing stem system.
It can smother and kill most plants from ground level to medium tree canopy and prevents the establishment of native plant seedlings. It thrives in bare sites and increases nitrogen in impoverished soil types, potentially changing the species that can grow there.
Mile-a-minute can be recognised by its attractive pea-like flowers of purple, red, pink and white shadings.
It is generally found invading forest margins, coastlines, riverside cliffs, shrub lands, and rocky and limestone areas.
The flowers are 1 to 1.5 centimetres and are followed by boat-shaped seed pods that are 3-4 cm long.
The weed has three triangular/heart-shaped leaflets measuring about 2.5 to 5.5cm long and stems are moderately hairy and woody towards their base.
Seeds drop near the parent plant and can be spread by birds. However, the spread of Mile-a-minute mostly occurs from dumped vegetation or infested soil.
In New Zealand, it is banned from sale, propagation and distribution and Waikato Regional Council aims to stop its spread in the region.
It is classed as an "eradication" plant under the Waikato Regional Pest Management Plan. Therefore it is the council's responsibility to control the plant.
If you have spotted this pest plant, please contact the council's Biosecurity team on 0800 BIOSEC (246 732).
-Waikato Weed Watch is provided by the Waikato Regional Council.