madeira vine, lamb's tail, jalap, potato vine
A hairless perennial climber; producing tubers on roots and at nodes on aerial stems; stems usually herbaceous with aerial tubers, but sometimes stems woody.
Leaves are alternate, bright green, heart-shaped and fleshy.
Flowers are small, fragrant and white. Flower clusters have separate flowers on stalks evenly spaced along a central stem.
Plants propagate vegetatively by tubers.
This plant can grow as much as 1 metre per week in Summer and is very difficult to control. It will climb to the top of reasonably tall trees and is sometimes hard to spot unless it is in flower.
To remove this plant it is best to scrape (15 to 30cm) with a knife along all accessible stems (and if a thick stem scape on both sides of the stem) and immediatly apply glyphosate. If stems are cut the tubers will continue to grow and will eventually drop to the ground and grow.
This plant has thick, fleshy leaves and brown often woody stems which have an abundance of tubers.
Other plants easily confused with this plant
This is a very distinctive plant.
Sources & References
"Weeds - an illustrated botanical guide to weeds of Australia" by B. A. Auld and R. W. Medd.
"Flora of New South Wales" editor Gwen J. Harden, Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney.
Prepared by Justin KY Chu, July 2005
Checked by Dr Peter Michael, July 2005