Asteraceae (daisy) family
Also known as
African ivy, climbing groundsel, Senecio mikanioides
Where is it originally from?
What does it look like?
Despite its common name, this scrambling invader from the daisy family is actually from South Africa. It is from the same family as ragwort, and that shows in its ragwort-like yellow flowers that form fluffy seeds like its agricultural cousin. Scrambling or climbing perennial vine to 3-5 m with thin, weak green stems. Thin, soft, glossy, hairless leaves are ivy-shaped and clammy to touch. Dense clusters of yellow, ragwort-like flowers (7 mm diameter) are produced from May to October, followed by fluffy seeds.
Are there any similar species?
Cape ivy (Senecio angulatus) is similar but its leaves are more succulent. Ivy (Hedera helix) is also similar.
Why is it weedy?
Fast growing and dense smothering habit. Distributes many wind-blown seeds long distances. Prefers open, damp sites but partially shade and drought-tolerant, and will grow in most soil types throughout New Zealand.
How does it spread?
Seeds spread by wind and in dumped vegetation and soil movement. Common sources are gardens, waste places, roadsides and bush edges.
What damage does it do?
Smothers small trees and lower vegetation, preventing the seedlings of native species from establishing. Often first exotic vine to appear on bush edge and subsequently supports more aggressive or taller vine species (eg. Lonicera, Ipomoea) as they invade.
Which habitats is it likely to invade?
Lowland forest and stream edges (especially in coastal areas), inshore islands and low growing habitats.
What can I do to get rid of it?
Easiest controlled at flowering, when highly visible and before seed is produced.
1. Hand pull small plants, or dig out roots (all year round). Leave on site to rot down.
2. Stump swab (all year round): glyphosate (100ml/L) or metsulfuron-methyl 600g/kg (1g/L). Leave on site to rot down.
3. Cut stems below waist height, spray below this point (spring-summer to actively growing plants): glyphosate (10ml/L knapsack) or (2L/100L spraygun) or metsulfuron-methyl 600g/kg (2g/10L knapsack) or (20g/100L spraygun) or a product containing 100g picloram+300g triclopyr/L (60ml/10L) or Banvine (12ml/L) or dicamba 50g/L (24ml/L) or amitrole (150ml/15L knapsack) or (2L/100L spraygun). Add penetrant to all mixes.
What can I do to stop it coming back?
Pulled roots and vines may be left to rot down on site.