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Cape ivy is a hairless, scrambling, perennial plant which often forms a dense tangled shrub 2-3m tall. It can form a vine able to climb up to 5m. It has wiry to woody stems with few branches and very fleshy, leathery leaves with coarse serrations on each side. Dense clusters of yellow, ragwort-like flowers are produced from March to August, followed by fluffy seeds.
Grows in drier, more open sites, including waste places and scrubland, especially near the sea. Coastal, rocky areas, cliffs, bush edges, regenerating lowland forests and inshore islands.
Cape ivy can become an aggressive weed once established and can scramble over large trees. It has a moderate growth rate with layering stems, which scramble over shrubs and the ground forming dense, tall thickets. Tolerates salt, wind, drought, semi-shade and damage.
It produces many long-lived seeds that are wind dispersed a long way from parent plants. Seeds and fragments are also spread in dumped vegetation and soil movement.