Mile-A-Minute Vine or Devil’s Tearthumb (Persicaria perfoliata)

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MAM Vine - Photo by Todd L. Mervosh, Ph.D.
Annual vine with elongated, branched stems that can climb into trees and reach lengths of more than 20 feet. Native to Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan and India.
Identification:

  • Branches and stems are covered with small barbs and can have a reddish color.
  • Leaves are simple, alternate, triangular and 1”-3” wide.
  • The mid-vein of the leaf also has barbs.
  • A very distinct saucer-shaped bract encircles the stems at each node.
  • New plants can be seen in late April or early May.
  • Metallic-blue colored fruits ripen from September to November.

The Problem:
Extremely rapid growth of up to 6” per day, enabling it to form dense mats that smother seedlings and/or native plants. Mile-a-Minute (MAM) fruits are clusters of several small berries, each containing one spherical seed that turns black when mature. In sunny sites, some fruits begin to ripen from green to blue by mid July (much earlier than Sept.-Nov.). Of course, the goal is to control MAM before its seeds are viable, and that can happen even before the fruits have fully ripened.

Management: Mowing, cutting or hand removal can be used to manage this weed. To avoid the barbs, remember to wear gloves for hand removal of this plant. Action should be taken before
large, dense areas form and before seed set. All plant debris should be removed from the site to
ensure that no viable seeds are left behind. In agricultural settings, there are registered herbicides that will kill Mile-A-Minute.