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Invasive Species: Vines

Invasive Vines

Species that are not native and also have the potential to harm human health or to harm natural, agricultural or silvicultural resources can be listed as prohibited or restricted by the State of Michigan. If a species is prohibited or restricted, it is unlawful to possess, introduce, import, sell or offer that species for sale as a live organism, except under certain circumstances.

Black Swallow-wort

Cynanchum louiseae (Vincetoxicum nigrum)

Black swallow-wort, also known as dog-strangling vine, is a perennial vine with shiny, oval to heart-shaped leaves with pointed tips.  Flowers are small, dark purple, and shaped like stars. Seed pods and seeds are similar to those of milkweed plants.


More information: Black swallow-wort

Chinese Yam

(Dioscorea oppositifolia)

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Chinese yam has slender vines that spiral counterclockwise and pointed, heart-shaped leaves that are often indented on the sides. The bulbils or air tubers are present from June to September and resemble very small potatoes. It has small, white or greenish-yellow flowers that smell like cinnamon.

More information: Chinese yam


(Pueraria montana var. lobate)

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Kudzu is a vine that extends to 100 feet, with up to 30 vines per plant. It has alternate, compound leaves with three broad leaflets and in late summer produces purple individual flowers that grow in upright clusters.

More information: Kudzu

Mile-A-Minute Weed

(Persicaria perfoliata)

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Mile-a-minute weed has light green leaves shaped like an equilateral triangle and small white flowers. They produce a deep blue colored fruit arranged in clusters. Typical infestation areas include stream banks, open space, roadsides, forest edges, and fence lines.

More information: Mile-a-minute weed

Oriental Bittersweet

(Celastrus orbiculatus)

Oriental bittersweet is a woody, perennial vine that can climb up to 60 feet. It is recognizable by its bright red fruits with yellow outer membranes that grow along the stem and open in fall.


More information: Oriental bittersweet

Pale Swallow-wort

Cynanchum rossicum (Vincetoxicum rossicum)

Pale swallow-wort is a perennial vine with shiny, green to yellow leaves and small, star-shaped flowers that are pale pink to reddish-brown.  Seed pods and seeds resemble those of milkweed plants.

More information: Pale swallow-wort