Summary details for Cryptostegia grandiflora

Rubber vine

Cryptostegia grandiflora

Common names: Rubber vine (English)

Origin: Madagascar

Description

Self-supporting, woody perennial strangler vine with trailing whip-like outer branches, 1-2 m high when it grows independently, or scrambling higher (up to 30m) into other woody species, exuding a milky latex when damaged. Leaves opposite, drooping, broadly elliptic, glossy dark green. Flowers showy, funnel-shaped with whorled petals, white or pink to pale purple. Seed pods distinctive, horn-like, up to 12 x 4 cm, growing in rigid opposite pairs on a short stalk. Seeds have a tuft of long, silky, white hairs and are dispersed far and wide by wind.

Discussion

A highly dangerous invader that grows up into trees and is easily capable of rapidly smothering them, pulling them down and killing them, reducing biodiversity and degrading habitat. It is spreading extremely quickly in Namibia, and grows in a wide variety of habitats, often where there is temporary or permanent water, such as roadside, washes and gullies, as well as near watered gardens. It is regarded as possibly the worst weed in Australia, where it is a severe threat to biodiversity in northern areas. It is poisonous to stock and can form dense, impenetrable thickets that impede stock movements and access to water.

Eradication of this species is one of the highest priorities regarding alien invasives in Namibia.

Cryptostegia grandiflora
Cryptostegia grandiflora © Photo: Coleen Mannheimer
Cryptostegia grandiflora
Cryptostegia grandiflora © Photo: Coleen Mannheimer