Anredera cordifolia

Also known as: Madeira Vine, Potato Vine, Lambs Tails
Family: Basellaceae Photo © Hugh Nicholson
Anredera cordifolia is a native of South America. Anredera was imported because of its attractive white flowers and strong growth habit. It was often planted beside outdoor latrines in Australia, as the leaves, when eaten, were believed to have a laxative effect.

Adapting to a vast range of soils and conditions, Anredera has spread along the waterways and through forests and is now considered to be the greatest threat to rainforest remnants.

This destructive, prolific and persistent vine reduces the host trees to vine shrouded pole structures. Because of its thick, fleshy leaves and bunches of tubers, it is the heaviest of the problem vines and can smash the branches of trees by its sheer weight. The stem can grow one metre per week.

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Identification
Anredera is most easily identified when it is in flower, between March & May. The flower appears as masses of perfumed creamy white tassels, usually high in the canopy, along the length of the vine stem. A curtain of leaves and flowers is often formed.
The vine has fleshy heart-shaped leaves, light green underneath and darker on top.
Anredera produces numerous stems, reaching from the ground up into the canopy. Mature stems are woody with wart-like growths and can reach up to 20 metres. Numerous potato-like tubers grow from the stems of the vine, and below the ground.

Reproduction
Anredera reproduces prolifically from the production of multitudes of aerial tubers. These tubers are then spread by water, the dumping of garden refuse, rodents and disturbance to soil, and can remain fertile for up to five years until conditions are optimal. Anredera also reproduces from parts of the stem or leaves of the vine. Thankfully, its flowers are not known to seed in Australia.

Aerial Tubers


Madeira Vine leaves & flowers with Lantana

Eradication
Because of its capacity for rampant growth and reproduction, it is vital that any attempt to remove the plant does not actually result in proliferation of the weed.

Overspraying
Over-spraying is useful where weeds have formed an impenetrable mass with a fairly complete canopy and where it is growing in a difficult to access area eg. in and over lantana. The dense weed canopy protects any submerged natives. Over-spraying is time saving and reduces or eliminates the need for hard manual weed removal (and therefore reduces soil disturbance, which is desirable at sites adjacent to water courses, or in areas with erosion problems). It is necessary to have access to the weed edge and, in areas of extensive infestations, a very gentle wind in the right direction to carry the herbicide further across the weed mass. Adjustable nozzles should be set to allow a diffuse light spray over the top of weeds, thus avoiding runoff. Use a narrow setting and higher pressure to reach further into the weed patch.

For over-spraying, 1 part Glyphosate to 50 parts of water is used plus LI 700 acidifier (as directed on label) to allow Glyphosate to penetrate the leaf surface. The addition of Brush-off ® (Metasulfuron) to glyphosate solutions is allowed as they are compatible, and is very effective.  Brush-off ® is used at 1.5 grams to 10 litres. Brush-off will not work properly without a surfactant. Read the instructions on all labels before use. 

The following recently developed methods have been trialed and proven successful:

1. For Vines in the Canopy

AVOID HAND REMOVAL OR CUTTING OF THE VINE STEMS.

The aim is to leave the plant alive long enough to kill the aerial tubers. Cutting or removing the vine (without poisoning it as described) results in an immediate rain of fertile tubers from the canopy.

Scrape 30cm sections along the vine stem leading up into the canopy, leaving 30cm spaces between each section. (see diagram below)

Cutting/Scraping

Start from ground level and work on all stems as high as can be reached. As you scrape, immediately paint each section with 100% Glyphosate
Vines should die within 6 weeks. The aerial tubers and vines can then be left to decompose in the canopy. Most importantly, follow-up and repeat this procedure for any vine stems that have been omitted.

2. For Tubers and Tuberlings

Tubers and tuberlings (sprouted tubers) on the ground, can be carefully (and painstakingly) collected and bagged, ensuring the entire tuberling is collected (see disposal notes below).

Sometimes the tuber/tuberlings density per square metre can be extremely high. In this case, Glyphosate can be sprayed onto the leaves as follows:
1 part Glyphosate to 50 parts water plus LI 700 acidifier (as directed on label) to allow Glyphosate to penetrate the leaf surface. The addition of Brush-off ® (Metasulfuron) to glyphosate solutions is allowed as they are compatible, and is very effective.  Brush-off ® is used at 1.5 grams to 10 litres. Brush-off will not work properly without a surfactant. Read the instructions on all labels before use. 

Large tubers can be poisoned in the ground by digging a hole in the tuber and filling this with 100% Glyphosate.

Disposal methods
Remembering the ease with which Anredera spreads, disposal is a problem and the following methods are recommended.

1. Lay Anredera on a plastic sheet in a cleared area and spray with a solution of Glyphosate 1 part to 50 parts water plus LI 700 acidifier to allow Glyphosate to penetrate the leaf surface. The addition of Brush-off ® (Metasulfuron) to glyphosate solutions is allowed as they are compatible, and is very effective.  Brush-off ® is used at 1.5 grams to 10 litres. Brush-off will not work properly without a surfactant. cover tightly with black plastic sheeting and check periodically. Read the instructions on all labels before use.

2. Decomposing in a covered drum of water.

3. Burning in a hot fire (seasonal).

Note: Avoid rubbish dumping or taking it to the tip - this only spreads Anredera.