Weeds of Wednesday: Amazing Arrowhead Vine

As I left a local business, I was startled by this stunning display of arrowhead vine (Syngonium podophyllum) growing up a cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto). Also called American evergreen, this vigorous vine that hails from South American is usually found growing in shady forested areas where it covers the ground and grows over the top of trees. In this manicured setting, it has been kept in check, though it was trying to “escape” across the sidewalk …

As houseplant that tolerates low light conditions, this member of the arum family, Araceae, can appear innocuous, but please do not see it free. Even a tiny piece will root and “take off”.  This plant is an invasive pest in South Africa, Australian, Singapore, Malaysia, China, the Pacific Islands, and the West Indies — not to mention subtropical/tropical Florida.

Young leaves are arrowhead-shaped, yellow-green, soft, and glossy …

Older leaves are deeply lobed …

Its stems are thick, fleshy, and quite heavy.  The species name, podophyllum, refers to the stout petioles (leaf stems).

Leaves sometimes are attractively variegated, as shown in this photo taken in a disturbed area on the south side of Oslo Road at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area ..

Control is difficult. Wear gloves when hand-pulling since the milky sap of this vine contains calcium oxalate which can be a skin irritant. Know that even the tiniest piece or bit of root will re-grow.

Kudos to the landscape professionals who have kept the arrowhead vine “contained” to the trunks of the 2 stately cabbage palms and completely off of the green saw palmetto (Serenoa repens).

%d bloggers like this: