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Mile-a-minute vine

(Polygonum perfoliatum or Persicaria perfoliata)

Photo of mile-a-minute vine
Photo credit: Elizabeth J. Czarapata

A rapid growing herbaceous annual vine that can grow to be 20’ tall with support from nearby vegetation. It has delicate reddish stems that are covered with barbs.

Overview

Other names for this plant include:
  • Common names: Asiatic tearthumb, devil's tail tearthumb
  • Scientific names: Persicaria perfoliata; Ampelygonum perfoliatum
Ecological threat:
  • Prefers moist areas and invades woodland edges, wetlands and stream banks where the buoyant seeds can disperse easily.
  • Smothers native plants by growing up to 6” in one day.
 Overview map of prohibited classification in WI
Prohibited (red) counties

Classification in Wisconsin: Prohibited

Species Assessment Groups (SAG) were assembled to recommend a legal classification for each species considered for NR 40. The recommendation for mile-a-minute vine was based upon this literature review [PDF] developed by the department.

Identification

Leaves: An equilateral triangle, with three sides that are all the same length. They are simple, alternate and light green. It has barbs on the underside and there are circular, cup-shaped leaves at intervals on the stem.

Flowers: Appear in saucer-shaped leaves, are white, inconspicuous and closed.

Fruits & seeds: Segmented pea-sized berries are metallic blue with each segment containing one seed. Spread by water, birds, ants and other animals.

Roots: Fibrous.

Similar species: Native tearthumbs are distinguished easily from mile-a-minute vine’s fruit that look like berries and triangle-shaped leaves that are equal on all sides.

Distribution

Currently, there have been no reports of mile-a-minute vine in Wisconsin. Have you seen it? Send us a report.

Control

Mechanical: Pull populations and let dehydrate in the sun for several days. Repeated mowing or cutting will prevent flowering and seed production. WEAR THICK GLOVES!

Chemical: Glyphosate and clopyralid can be used for foliar sprays.

Photos

View mile-a-minute vine pictures in our photo gallery!

Resources

Sources for content:
  • Czarapata, Elizabeth; Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest: an illustrated guide to their identification and control. University of Wisconsin Press. 2005. Pg. 130
Links for more information: