Thursday, August 24, 2017

Alert: New Mile-A-Minute Infestation Found in Woodstock

Triangular leaves of Mile-A-Minute vine
Mile-A-Minute (Persicaria perfoliata) is a highly invasive, herbaceous annual vine native to eastern Asia.  It was unintentionally introduced in contaminated soil into the United States in Pennsylvania and Maryland in the 1930’s. It is an aggressive invader, earning its common name by its fast growth, up to six inches a day!  It grows as a vine, using its spines to climb over other plants, and it reproduces by seed. Mile-a-minute weed is a a prolific seeder and flowers for a long period of time, late summer through October, so can produce many fruit during one season.  Vines are killed by Fall frost and the seeds overwinter in the soil. Seeds can be viable in the soil for up to 6 years and germinate at a high rate.  
Mile-a-minute colonizes disturbed areas along forest edges, wetlands, stream banks and roadsides. It thrives in full sun and prefers high soil moisture.  Mile-a-minute outcompetes native species by its rapid growth and ability to grow over other plants and shade them out.  This plant often grows in streamside habitats and because the seeds can float, the seeds can be carried downstream, aiding the spread of this plant to previously uninfested areas.  Although the main vector for seed dispersal are birds that eat the fruits and deposit the seeds in their droppings, and other animals that ingest the seeds also contribute to the spread of this plant.
Ocrea encircling the stem
Mile-a-minute vines have alternate, light green triangular leaves, 4 to 7 cm long and 5 to 9 cm wide. The vines are light green and become reddish as they mature. The vine stems and the undersides of leaves are covered with recurved barbs that help it to hold onto objects and climb. A unique feature of mile-a-minute is that it has 1-2 cm diameter round, flat leaves, called “ocreae, “that circle the stems at the nodes. Ripe fruits are blue.

The newly discovered population of this plant in the Town of Woodstock is spread over an area of about ¾ acre.  Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) staff are working with the landowner to treat this population and are concerned that there may be other populations.  Mile-a-minute is widespread in the lower Hudson Valley, but this is only the second population that we know about in the CRISP region, with the other CRISP infestation along the Delaware River.  The closest known population to the Woodstock patch is 18 miles away in the Town of Esopus, outside of the CRISP region, in the Lower Hudson Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management region.
Blue Fruit
If you think you see this plant in the CRISP region, please report it here or contact us at jthompson@catskillcenter.org or (845) 586-2611. 

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