Helix means spiralling and refers to its climbing nature.
A perennial, prostrate or climbing ornamental vine with dark green or variegated, leathery, 3-5 lobed leaves with lighter coloured veins. Oval mature leaves are produced when the plant reaches reproductive age at about ten years old. It has clusters of flowers at the tips of branches that produce shiny, dark blue to purplish-black fruits. The stems form many roots where they contact the ground or supporting structures.
Stipules - None.
Petiole - Shorter than blade, 10-70 mm long. Purplish brown. Hairless.
Blade - Dark green or variegated, 30-150 mm long by 30-150 mm wide, leathery, often with 3-5 finger like lobes, oval or variable in shape. Surface hairless and undulating.
Green to brown-red. Climbing and sprawling, up to 30 m long. Roots from the nodes and uses the roots to attach itself as it scrambles over trees and buildings. Stems tend to become more erect at flowering.
Petals - Yellow green, 3-5 mm long.
Globular, shiny black to bluish purple, 5-8 mm diameter with 2-3 seeds..
Root from the stem nodes.
Vegetative and seed.
March to May in New Zealand.
Seed Biology and Germination:
Population Dynamics and Dispersal:
Spread by birds.
Origin and History:
Europe, North Africa, Asia and New Zealand.
ACT, NSW, NT, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA.
Ornamental, ground cover, building adornment.
Weed of shady forest areas and around old settlements.
Replaces the understorey in forests and grows up trees breaking off limbs.
Both berries and foliage may be toxic.
Remove stock from infestation.
Management and Control:
Burn pruning refuse.
Don't dispose of garden waste in moist areas.
Hand removal is the most effective but difficult. Repeated burning with a blow torch or flame thrower is also effective. It is very difficult to control with herbicides due the very waxy nature of the leaves.
A mixture of 100 mL glyphosate(450g/L) plus 1 g metsulfuron(600g/kg) plus 25 mL Pulse® in 10 L water and sprayed onto the plant gives reasonable control. Retreat regrowth every 2-3 months.
It is quite tolerant to most herbicides.
Plants of similar appearance:
Bodkin, F. (1986). Encyclopaedia Botanica. (Angus and Robertson, Australia).
Everist, S.L. (1974). Poisonous Plants of Australia. (Angus and Robertson, Sydney).
Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Cousens, R.D., Dodd, J. and Lloyd, S.G. (1997). Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. (Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia). P86. Photo.
Lamp, C. and Collet, F. (1990). A Field Guide to Weeds in Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne).
Lazarides, M. and Cowley, K. and Hohnen, P. (1997). CSIRO handbook of Australian Weeds. (CSIRO, Melbourne). 481.1.
Randall, J.M. and Marinelli, J. (1996) Invasive Plants. (Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Inc. Brooklyn). P93. Photo.
Roy, B., Popay, I., Champion, P., James, T. and Rahman, A. (1998). An Illustrated Guide to Common Weeds of New Zealand. (New Zealand Plant Protection Society). P42. Photo
Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.