One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there,

Nutmeg advised you human readers to leave your flower seedbeds for the birds, but here’s a plant you should clean up.

mystery #164

Know what it is and why?

Make your guesses and I’ll return later with the answers.

~~~

Hmm, here’s a vine you humans ought to become more familiar with–because it’s terribly invasive! You’ll want to get rid of Mile-a-Minute Weed the second you see it.

Mile-a-Minute Weed

The triangular leaves and barbed stems are a great way to identify it, even if you don’t notice that the vine is growing 6 inches a day. Yes, it can take over quickly, and we squirrels beg you to keep this from happening! We like our native foods better, though some deer, chipmunks, mice and birds will eat them. Of course, that’s another way the Mile-a-Minute Weed is spreading.

Did you notice some of the leaves have holes in them? That’s because some great humans have released a weevil that eats Mile-a-Minute Weed leaves, then lays its eggs in the stems. The larvae eat the plant from the inside. Read more about Mile-a-Minute Weed and this weevil on this New York Invasive Species Information bulletin.

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Mile-A-Minute Weed, a serious invasive

A human reader mentioned watching out for invasive species in the comments of our Ox-eye Daisy post last week. Plants like Ox-eye Daisy and Queen Anne’s Lace that became naturalized in our fields decades ago aren’t as big of a threat to nature as new plants that are taking over. One of the worst is Mile-a-Minute Weed, Persicaria perfoliata.

Mile-A-Minute Weed Leaves

The leaves are quite distinctive–a triangle. Note the barbs on the stem. Nothing else looks like Mile-A-Minute Weed.

While it may not really travel a mile in a minute, this vigorous vine can grow six inches in a day and will smother wildflower and  shrubs.

Mile-A-Minute

That should be enough to convince you to pull those little triangular leaves any time, any place you see them. If you need to know more, here’s the New York Invasive Species information on Mile-A-Minute. Good photos!

More Mile-A-Minute Weed

Mile-a-Minute Weed

Yuck! If you see this invasive plant, get rid of it. We can’t stress this enough. Or if photos communicae this better than words, here you go:

It won’t be long before this is the only plant around, unless people pull it. Its seeds have formed, ready to make more prickly vines.

MIle-a-Minute Weed seeds

More about this horrible plant was on our July 31st post.

Mile-A-Minute Weed

Miz Flora asked us to put out a warning to all you humans: if you see this plant with the triangular leaves, pull it immediately.

Mile-A-Minute

Mile-A-Minute, Persicaria perfoliata, is a vine that will take over ‘in a minute’. Not really, but you get the idea. It is an invasive that Miz Flora is twitching her tail over. She’s seeing it more and more and is very disturbed to think all of Virginia might be covered with it.

The vine appears rather delicate, but has many little teeth along its stem, and triangular leaves.

Mile-A-Minute Weed Leaves

Very triangular leaves.

Mile-A-Minute Weed Leaves

We could go into all the details, but Miz Flora says this website does it much better: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/pepe1.htm

Thanks for your help in removing this invasive plant!