Rubbervine

rubbervineRubbervine, aka Rubber Vine
(Cryptostegia grandiflora and C. madagascariensis)

(Asclepidaceae)

rubbervine3Description:

  • Fast growing, climbing plant usually with pinkish-purple flowers (sometimes white to pink or light purple). Can also grow as a bush.
  • Shiny, dark green leaves that are about 7 cm (3 in) long, with triangular, 10 cm long (4 in) seedpods that grow in wing-like pairs.
  • Native to Madagascar, introduced to Hawaii as drought-resistant ornamentals

Harm:

  • Grows over other plants and trees to 13 m (45 ft) high, smothering and killing other vegetation.
  • Twines tightly around other plants and restricts their growth.
  • Extremely poisonous: it contains cardiac glycosides, which interfere with heart operation in humans and animals when the plant is eaten.
  • When the vine is dry, a powdery dust emerges and can cause violent coughing, swelling of the nose, and blistering of the eyelids.
  • Contact with the plant’s milky sap can cause burning rashes and blisters.
  • Each seedpod contains 340-840 seeds, silky hairs on seeds allow them to spread by wind and water, seeds are also known to float and survive for a month in salt water before being washed ashore to sprout.
  • Introduced to Western Australia, now considered one of the 10 worst invasive plants.

rubbervine2In Hawaii:

  • Kauai: Present in limited numbers in ornamental settings, but not a KISC target at this time. Property owners are encouraged to remove this plant from their land (carefully).
  • Oahu: Present in landscaped areas including Diamond Head, Hawaii Kai and Bishop Museum; infestations also occur. OISC is currently determining the feasibility of controlling rubbervine. All population sightings should be reported to OISC for mapping and assessment.
  • Maui: There are a few sites on Maui that are being controlled by MISC. Unfortunately, rubbervine is widely available to the public through internet seed companies, few of which describe the plant’s invasive qualities.
  • Molokai: One large infestation is known, from a couple of original plants distributed by a home gardener in East Molokai. MoMISC is unable to control this infestation with current resources. Landowners are encouraged to control this plant and to call MoMISC for control advice.
  • Lanai: Presence/absence unknown
  • Kahoolawe: None known.
  • Big Island: Rubbervine is a BIISC early detection target species. BIISC is working to locate and control infestations. Property owners are encouraged to remove this plant (carefully).

For more information, see: