by Connie Oswald invStofko
People are calling mile-a-minute vine “the kudzu of the north.” That’s scary because kudzu is known as “the vine that ate the south.”
Mile-a-minute vine (Persicaria perfoliata) can grow as much as six inches per day and more than 20 feet per year. It has small, recurved barbs along its stem that allow it to grow over vegetation such as tree seedlings and smother them. It can have a negative effect on tree farms, forestry operations and the reforestation of natural areas.
Mile-a-minute vine has been found in Cattaraugus County, and most recently near the border of Orleans and Genesee counties near Oakfield.
While these are the only infestations currently known in Western New York, there are likely other infestations in nearby areas, according to WNY PRISM (Western New York Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management).
That’s where you come in.
WNY PRISM needs your help in spotting mile-a-minute vine, which is on the list of priority species— invasive species that pose the most threat to our region. It’s also on the list of early detection species— species that have been found in three or fewer locations in our region.
Finding early detection priority species before they become established gives managers the greatest chance of success in eradicating the infestation, but it’s impossible for the WNY PRISM staff to monitor the entire region. You can help.
If you spot these plants, let WNY PRISM know. See instructions for reporting on these early detection species here.
See details on how to recognize mile-a-minute vine here.
Another plant that is both a priority species (because it poses a threat to our region) and an early detection species (because it has been found in just a few places) is Japanese stiltgrass. It has been found in Erie and Cattaraugus counties. More infestations have been found by WNY PRISM’s invasive species management crew this summer.
Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) quickly spreads to form extensive mats that displace native plants and plant communities. It can also change soil nutrient cycling processes, inhibit tree survival and growth, and reduce light availability. After it dies back in late fall, it forms a thick layer of smothering thatch that is slow to decompose and may create a fire hazard. Japanese stiltgrass produces a lot of seed, which is easily spread by mowers, deer, people and flood waters.
Here is the entire list of WNY early detection priority species:
- Anoplophora glabripennis —— Asian longhorned beetle
- Brachypodium sylvaticum —— Slender false brome
- Channa argus —— Northern snakehead
- Eichhornia crassipes —— Water hyacinth
- Hypophthalmichthys molitrix —— Silver carp
- Hypophthalmichthys nobilis —— Bighead carp
- Pistia stratiotes —— Water lettuce
- Microstegium vimineum —— Japanese stiltgrass
- Persicaria perfoliata —— Mile-a-minute vine