Mile-a-minute weed

Mikania micrantha

What to look for

A fast growing vine with heart-shaped leaves in opposite pairs along the stem. Flowers are small greenish-white and found mainly at the end of stems.

What you can do

  • Do not move plants, plant material or soil out of the Torres Strait Protected Zone to the Torres Strait Permanent Biosecurity Monitoring Zone, or from either zone to mainland Australia without a permit and an inspection by a Department of Agriculture and Water Resources biosecurity officer. ​
  • Report any signs of suspect exotic vines to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources by phone on +61 7 4241 7800 or email NAQS.

warning sign 

Profile

Mile-a-minute weed is a smothering vine. It is one of the world’s worst weeds and is known as ‘mile-a-minute’ because it can rapidly choke and smother other plants where it invades. It is a major weed of young plantation crops and pastures and can readily colonise disturbed native forests.  The massive seed production of mile-a-minute weed and its ability to grow from stem fragments mean that this plant can spread very rapidly.
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Leaves are triangular to heart-shaped
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Mile-a-minute weed flowers profusely

Identification

Mile-a-minute weed is a perennial vine with slender twining stems. The stems are ridged and may have scattered white hairs. The leaves are heart-shaped and arranged in opposite pairs along the stems. The flower heads contain clusters of small white to greenish-white flowers found mainly at the end of stems. The seeds are small and black with a parachute of fine white bristles.

Distribution

Mile-a-minute weed is native to Central and South America but is now widely spread throughout the tropics in Africa, India, South East Asia, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Fiji and western Polynesia.

Threat

This plant grows very rapidly and is a major weed of both the environment and agriculture. It could potentially cost millions of dollars in lost production and eradication costs if it became widely established in Australia. Mile-a-minute produces massive amounts of seeds that are spread by wind, water, machinery, animals or people. It can also establish and spread from stem fragments.

Keep a Top Watch!

If you think you have found this plant contact your local Department of Agriculture and Water Resources office immediately. Early detection of weeds minimises the costs and impacts of eradication measures.

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Masses of seeds are adapted for wind dispersal

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Crops and pasture are smothered by this weed

Report any unusual vines that you don’t recognise.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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