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