Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Coping with Cape Ivy

item Balciunas, Joseph

Submitted to: Biocontrol News and Information
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: July 23, 2002
Publication Date: September 1, 2002

Interpretive Summary: Frequently, plants from overseas become naturalized in the USA, and some cause serious economic losses and environmental damage. While the impacts of many non-indigenous weeds is well known, for others, their spread and impact is only now being evaluated and assessed. One of these is the South African vine, Cape ivy, also known as German ivy. Although still widely sold as a houseplant, this vine is established in several states, but is most widespread and damaging in California. While it establishes most readily along streams and lake shores, from there it readily invades into forests, shrub thickets, and grasslands. Usually, this vine forms a thick carpet which smothers and kills all other vegetation. It is considered to be poisonous to infants and pets that consume it. In this news article, I present the current status of the project to develop biological control agents for this pest vine. Development of effective biological control agents will diminish the environmental damages and economic costs of controlling this weed, and will aid in making other management options more effective.

Technical Abstract: Cape ivy (Delairea odorata Lem.) is an asteraceous twining perennial, native to southern Africa. Widely used as an ornamental vine, Cape ivy has become invasive in at least three U.S. states. In California and Oregon, it has, thus far, only become naturalized in coastal regions, and is an especially aggressive invader of riparian corridors and coastal scrub communities. In this news article, I review the current status of the project to find and develop biological control agents for this pest vine. After intensive surveys in South Africa, five insects were selected as having priority for research as possible biocontrol agents. All of these are being investigated further in South Africa. In addition, two of these are now undergoing final evaluation at the USDA-ARS quarantine facility in Albany, California.

Last Modified: 4/18/2015
Footer Content Back to Top of Page