Conservation Director Alicia Mozian asks Westport residents to help identify and prevent the spread of invasive plants within the town and its surrounding neighbors. The department is focusing on the identification and eradication of Mile-a-Minute Vine (Persicaria perfoliata) which has been found in Westport.
In a cooperative effort with the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG), the Conservation Department is informing Westport residents of this effort and is asking for assistance in searching for this invasive vine. Efforts to reduce further expansion is very important.
“The concern for invasive plants stems from the fact that they are non-native to the region.” -Mozian
“These plants were introduced accidentally or perhaps intentionally for ornamental or conservation reasons and have escaped into natural areas that are not managed. They spread due to their aggressive growth habit and out-compete and overcome the native plant species which results in a loss of our native plants and subsequent animal diversity.”
How and where to find it and what to do if you do
Mile-a-Minute vine grows along roadsides, wood edges and in fields, nurseries and other open areas. It prefers moist, well-drained soils in sunny locations. However, it may grow in wooded areas with partial shade. Each year’s new growth comes from the germination of over wintering seeds. There have been sightings in the vicinity of Turkey Hill Road near the former Flower Farm property and near the intersection of Clapboard Hill Road.
Identification is easy. This annual weed has elongated, branched stems that can reach lengths over 20 feet that can climb into trees. Branches and stems are covered with downward curving barbs and can have a reddish color. The leaves are simple, alternate, triangular and 1” to 3” wide. The mid-vein of the leaf also has spines. There is a very distinct saucer-spaced bract that encircles the stems at each node. New plants can be seen in late April or early May. The metallic-blue colored fruits ripen from September to November. Berries may or may not be present.
If this plant is present, damage to your landscape is probable.
To aid in identification, the Invasive Plant Atlas of New England (IPANE) has a Web site www.ipane.org for color images of this plant. “If you think you’ve found it,” Mozian noted, “the University of Connecticut requests that you report it on-line at http://www.mam.uconn.edu/ which will alert them of a possible plant location. They will coordinate with persons who can verify the plant, those who can control it or who can advise on control. Though we would appreciate it if the property owners removed the plant, instead UCONN asks that they be contacted first.”