What does it look like?
Lily of the valley vine is a scrambling, fast-growing perennial herb which reproduces from roots and by seed. It usually produces about 100 berries per plant, with 20 seeds per berry.
Numerous stems grow form the perennial rootstock. These are erect at first, but then grow outwards trailing for up to 3m. Leaves are produced singly or in pairs and each pair is unequal in size. These are oval shaped, 0.5-5cm long, and hairy. Flowers occur between Dec/Jan, which are bell-shaped, white or cream, and up to 1cm long. Berries are pale yellow when ripe, 1-2cm long ovoid, smooth and contain up to 20 seeds. Extensive underground system of suckering roots.
Grows well in disturbed habitats including scrub, roadsides, waste places, gardens, river banks, coastal ecosystems. Mainly found near populated or urban areas. It is drought tolerant and prefers mainly alkaline sandy soils in warm and often semi-arid situations.
Why is it a problem?
Native to the temperate regions of South America, but has naturalised in Europe, USA, Australia and New Zealand. Prolific scrambling ground-cover growth smothers other plant species. It can kill large shrubs and fruit trees, and make vegetable. Also produces chemicals which effectively repels some invertebrate herbivores, further promoting its successful establishment. Has a rapid growth rate from around two years after germination.
Overseas it invades dry coastal vegetation, heathland, heathy woodland, lowland grassland, grassy woodland, dry sclerophyll forest, damp sclerophyll forest and riparian vegetation.
- Cultivate in late summer to expose rhizomes. Remove all root material and monitor site for six months minimum. Repeat annually or when regrowth appears.
- Treat small infestations just before flowering with a mixture of 1 litre of Tordon® 75-D (or similar product) plus 250mL of Pulse® Penetrant (or similar product) in 100L of water,.spray a buffer area 5-10 metres wide around the infestation.