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Mile-a-minute is a herbaceous, annual vine featuring delicate, reddish stems with hooks and circular leafy structures called “ocreae.” Its leaves are alternate, triangular, light green, and barbed on the undersurface. Small, white, inconspicuous flowers arise from the ocreae. Fruits are metallic blue and segmented with each segment containing a single black or reddish-black seed.

Originally from Eastern Asia and the Philippines, this vine was introduced to a nursery in York County, PA, in the 1930s when Japanese holly seeds were planted and this plant came up with the holly. Mile-a-minute colonizes open and disturbed areas, along the edges of woods, wetlands, stream banks, roadsides, fence lines and uncultivated fields.

While vines generally die with the first frost, mile-a-minute produces many seeds on a single plant beginning in June and seeds remain viable for seven to nine years. Dispersal occurs through birds, animals and water as seeds remain buoyant for seven to nine days. Mile-a-minute grows rapidly and covers other plants, limiting their ability to photosynthesize, weakening the plant and eventually killing it.

Manual and chemical methods can control mile-a-minute. Seedlings and vines are easy to pull by hand as long as gloves and sturdy clothing are worn. However, pulling vines with mature fruits may help spread seeds. Contact and systemic herbicides are also effective.
More Resources:

U.S. Forest Service
Plant Conservation Alliance

Biological Control of Invasive Plants
Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas

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