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EnviroNorth > All Regions > Weeds > Rubber vine

Rubber vine

Overview

A native of Madagascar, rubbervine (Cryptostegia grandiflora) was introduced as an ornamental garden plant in the 1860s, because of its glossy, dark-green leaves, pretty flowers and attractive venation. Rubbervine rapidly became a pest, spreading its seed by wind, floodwaters, and in mud sticking to animals and machinery. It was also widely planted in the Charters Towers region of north Queensland during World War II as an alternative source of rubber production, when supplies from South East Asia were disrupted. However these plans never came to fruition, and rubbervine today is very dense around this area.

Rubbervine shrouds trees alongside the Burdekin River, north Queensland.
Photo: Kate O'Donnell

In fact, a 1989 survey estimated that some 600,000 hectares were already affected in Queensland alone, and there is the potential to infest around 60 million hectares of northern Australia, or 20 per cent of the landmass.

Impact on environment

An aggressive climbing woody shrub, the plant can reach a height of 5 metres in a year, while the tendrils of an established plant can grow 5 metres in a month. Rubbervine favours watercourses where it forms impenetrable thickets, preventing animals from reaching the water to drink. It can also completely smother native plant communities, and causes soil erosion. It is highly toxic to stock, though unpalatable.

Management

Rubbervine control is a continuous, long-term process involving a combination of mechanical, chemical and biological means. Control programs also need to be an integral part of the land management of infested areas.

Click here to read about rubbervine in North East Queensland or to see a recent list of research findings on rubbervine click here .

Articles

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Fire and Weed Management

Weeds and the use of fire for their management in the tropical savannas [read more...]

Fire burns out large-scale riparian threat

Rubbervine research in Queensland has shown fire to be an effective control method. From Savanna Links, Issue 22, May - July 2002 [read more...]

Fire in the management of rubbervine-infested riparian communities of northern Australia

Project Leader: Dr Tony Grice CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems Townsville Queensland Project 3 3 2 Summary | Application of research | Research Progress | Interactions between fire and grazing | Effect of fire on fauna |… [read more...]

Information resources for Rubber Vine Cryptostegia grandiflora and Madagascar Rubber Vine C. madagascariensis

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New manual targets rubbervine

RUBBERVINE one of Queensland’s most insidious and devastating weeds is the focus of a new manual by the state’s Department of Natural Resources Managing Rubber Vine describes practical approaches backed up by research and… [read more...]

Rubber vine and fire

by Tony Grice CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems From Savanna Burning — Understanding and Using Fire in Northern Australia Tropical Savannas CRC Darwin 2001 Rubber vine ( Cryptostegia grandiflora ) is… [read more...]

The Impact of Fire on Rubber Vine

Outlines the potential impact of the spread of Rubber Vine into the Northern Territory, also contains links for further information. [read more...]