Thursday, September 22, 2011

Silver lace vine goes to town

In October of 2009, someone on my gardening listserv was giving away a silver lace vine (polygonum aubertii), that was too vigorous for her small yard. I'd admired this pretty vine on fences around the neighborhood, so I was happy to go dig hers up.
I planted it on the other side of the fence, and this is how big it got in only its second summer. Wow! It's quite the grower. And the bees love the flowers. They have a pretty, delicate scent.
Here's a picture from another angle:
Turns out silver lace vine is also called Mile-a-Minute, growing up to 40 feet in a season. In some parts of the country, its relatives in the Polygonum family, also known as Mile-a-Minute vine, are considered noxious invasives (though not this particular ornamental).

The winters here are a deterrent, I think. But I'll be pruning the heck out of it next spring to keep it in check.


  1. Wow! Beautiful! I did a double take when I read "mile-a-minute" b/c as you said, in some places (like here in the DC area) it's considered worse than a noxious invasive-- more like Enemy No. 1. Entire volunteer crews gather to clear the parks of the stuff. But I've never seen any of it bloom like that. I've got some across the street from me, in the big park adjacent to my house, so today I think I'll go check it out and see if there are any blooms. I wonder if there could be different types?? I'm definitely in the camp that doesn't worry too much about so-called invasive plants. On a planetary level we have so much more to worry about -- if we choose to worry at all -- than invasive plants. Starting with invasive humans: we need to cut back on humans by, oh say, 50-70% But I digress into dark areas of my brain.

  2. I'll add a close-up of the flowers today so you can see what they look like.

    In the Bay Area, alyssum is considered a weed, but here people buy flats of it to plant as a pretty annual. The Sergeant had also never seen my nemesis, bindweed.

    So yeah, it all depends.

    As for what to do with excess population ... well, if we could ditch all the mean people, that would be fine with me.

  3. Oh, also, I looked it up with the Latin name (polygonum aubertii), and of course, there are variants of polygonum that are also called Mile-a-Minute.

    On the Forest Service's list of invasives, polygonum aubertii is considered level 4: "These plants are non-native species that occur only locally in our region. They are not currently known to be especially invasive, but should be monitored in the future. Many of these plants are cultivated species which occasionally escape."

    On the other hand, Polygonum perfoliatum is considered highly invasive.

  4. Love it! And I love your blog! I just listed it as a favorite on mine!

  5. Thanks, Hedda! Yours looks really neat, too. You pack a lot of useful info in. Did you just start blogging?

  6. I discovered silver lace vine on my SE Ohio acreage (~100) about a week ago. It was growing rampantly all over a strip of land that the power co. had sprayed to kill vegetation under the power line. I found out what it was & started trying to eradicate it. I work on it for a couple of hours every day. I'm finding more & more of it- around the perimeter of my yard. I'm piling it on tarps to dry & then I'll burn it. I now notice it on the roadsides as I drive around. Probably a lost cause, but I've already come this far..... The thing that's really bad about these invasive alien species is that our native flora & fauna will be harmed. There's a good book about it called "Bringing Nature Home". There's a new movement underway to change our gardening habits to favor native plants that support out native wildlife. Check it out!