INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – An invasive vine originally from Asia has been confirmed in Indiana for the first time.
The “mile-a-minute” vine was found last fall in Monroe County, the Indianapolis Star reported. The vine has triangular leaves, long barbs and small white flowers that eventually turn into dark blue fruit.
“It has swollen nodes, so the nodes where the leaves attached are wider than the rest of the stem, and then it has recurved barbs up and down the stem, so it almost hangs on to you,” said Ellen Jacquart, the invasive education chair for the Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society.
The plant can grow up to 6 inches a day and thrives in an environment without insect predators, herbivores or fungi that naturally keeps it in check. Its rapid growth can push out other plants, Jacquart said.
The vine blocks out sunlight and robs other plants of water and nutrients.
“Once it’s in the area you can’t walk through it,” Jacquart said.
The discovery is the farthest west the plant has been cataloged by the Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Residents who find the plant on their property should take a photo of the stem and leaves and report it to the mapping system. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources will follow up if actions need to be taken.