Invasive Vines to Cut

Porcelain Berry

Ampelopsis Brevipedunculata

DESCRIPTION: Porcelain-berry is a deciduous, woody, perennial vine. It twines with the help of non-adhesive tendrils that occur opposite the leaves and closely resembles native grapes in the genus Vitis. The stem pith of porcelain-berry is white (grape is brown) and continuous across the nodes (grape is not), the bark has lenticels (grape does not), and the bark does not peel (grape bark peels or shreds). The Ieaves are alternate, broadly ovate with a heart-shaped base, palmately 3-5 lobed or more deeply dissected, and have coarsely toothed margins. The inconspicuous, greenish-white flowers with “free” petals occur in cymes opposite the leaves from June through August (in contrast to grape species that have flowers with petals that touch at tips and occur in panicles. The fruits appear in September-October and are colorful, changing from pale lilac, to green, to a bright blue. Porcelain-berry is often confused with species of grape (Vitis) and may be confused with several native species of Ampelopsis — Ampelopsis arborea and Ampelopsis cordata.

Oriental Bittersweet

DESCRIPTION: Oriental bittersweet is a deciduous woody perennial plant which grows as a climbing vine and a trailing shrub. Stems of older plants 4 inches in diameter have been reported. The leaves are alternate, glossy, nearly as wide as they are long (round), with finely toothed margins. There are separate female (fruiting) and male (non-fruiting) plants. Female plants produce clusters of small greenish flowers in axillary clusters (from most leaf axils), and each plant can produce large numbers of fruits and seeds. The fruits are three-valved, yellow, globular capsules that at maturity split open to reveal three red-orange, fleshy arils each containing one or two seeds. The abundance of showy fruits have made Oriental bittersweet extremely popular for use in floral arrangements.

NOTE: Because Oriental bittersweet can be confused with our native American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) which is becoming less and less common, it is imperative that correct identification be made before any control is begun. American bittersweet produces flowers (and fruits) in single terminal panicles at the tips of the stems; flower panicles and fruit clusters are about as long as the leaves; the leaves are nearly twice as long as wide and are tapered at each end. Oriental bittersweet produces flowers in small axillary clusters that are shorter than the subtending leaves and the leaves are very rounded. Comparing the two, American bittersweet has fewer, larger clusters of fruits whereas Oriental bittersweet is a prolific fruiter with lots and lots of fruit clusters emerging at many points along the stem. Unfortunately, hybrids of the two occur which may make identification more difficult.

Japanese Honeysuckle

Lonicera japonica

DESCRIPTION: Japanese honeysuckle is a semi-evergreen vine in Illinois, often holding its leaves late into winter. Leaves are ovate and 1.5-3.2 inches (4-8 cm) long. White to yellow tubular flowers form in pairs in the leaf axils and occur from May-June. The 2-3 seeded fruits are small and black.

SIMILAR SPECIES: Japanese honeysuckle is separated easily from the native honeysuckle vines by its leaves. Leaves near tips of the vines of Japanese honeysuckle are opposite and not united, while leaves of native honeysuckles (3 species) are united at the base, forming a single leaf surrounding the stem. Japanese honeysuckle should be accurately identified before attempting any control measures. If identification of the species is in doubt, the plant’s identity should be confirmed by a knowledgeable individual and/or by consulting appropriate books.

Japanese Knotweed

DESCRIPTION: Japanese knotweed is an upright, shrublike, herbaceous perennial that can grow to over 10 feet in height. As with all members of this family, the base of the stem above each joint is surrounded by a membranous sheath. Stems of Japanese knotweed are smooth, stout and swollen at joints where the leaf meets the stem. Although leaf size may vary, they are normally about 6 inches long by 3 to 4 inches wide, broadly oval to somewhat triangular and pointed at the tip. The minute greenish-white flowers occur in attractive, branched sprays in summer and are followed soon after by small winged fruits. Seeds are triangular, shiny, and very small, about 1/10 inch long.

Purple Loosestrife

DESCRIPTION: Purple loosestrife is an erect perennial herb in the loosestrife family, with a square, woody stem and opposite or whorled leaves. Leaves are lance-shaped, stalkless, and heart-shaped or rounded at the base. Plants are usually covered by a downy pubescence. Loosestrife plants grow from four to ten feet high, depending upon conditions, and produce a showy display of magenta-colored flower spikes throughout much of the summer. Flowers have five to seven petals. Mature plants can have from 30 to 50 stems arising from a single rootstock.

Invasive Species Tool Kit: www.stewardshipbestpractices.org

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