Invasive vine

Asked May 14, 2013, 10:35 AM EDT

What is this invasive vine? No thorns, evergreen in central Texas, single heart-shaped leaf about 2 to 3 inches in diameter, alternating on stem. Spreads by deep root system. Covers ground in a dense mat and will smother bushes. Looks similar to English ivy but no rootlets or adhesive feet. Very drought tolerant and seems to come up in flower beds. Resistant to Round-Up.

Williamson County Texas

1 Response

May 14, 2013 ESSM

The plant pictured has been identified from the single .jpg image to the best of my knowledge and ability as "Cocculus carolinus (L.) DC." in the Menispermaceae or Moonseed Family. This high climbing vine or it can sometimes grow prostrate or scandent is a native, warm season perennial that is commonly named "Carolina snailseed", "coralberry", "red-berried moonseed" and "coralbead". It is noted to occur over most of the State of Texas except in the Panhandle. The fruit ripens red and has a single seed or stone that is ridged on the surface with a central depression and roughly looks snail-shaped. Although this is a native vine, Vines (1960) reported in the book "Trees, Shrubs and Vines of the Southwest" that the plant has been planted on occasion as an ornamental. The fruit or berries hang like a cluster of grapes, but they are red. Several animals and bird species eat the fruit of this plant.

Carolina snailseed has not been a large or recognized problem plant on rangeland or pastures in Texas. As the plant is a vine and has a perennial woody rootstock, I would suggest that a control measure of this plant would be an individual stem treatment with trichlopyr, a 1% solution mixed in diesel or black oil seed. The chemical would be applied to 12 to 18 inches of the basal vine stem, making sure that the chemical wraps all the way around the stem (method named basal stem treatment). A registered product that could be used in a lawnscape is readily available and is named "Ortho's Brush-Be-Gone" or "Ortho's Poison-ivy Control". The instructions on the label of these two products should be followed. I am not aware of any chemical that is currently available that can be sprayed on the leaves . As the product "Roundup" is generally used in agriculture for annual weed control, it is not a surprise that this perennial vine is not controlled by this chemical. The goal of using a chemical in this effort is to kill the root system, not the leaves. Many chemicals that are available will burn or kill the leaves but not effect the root system and the plant comes back.

Additional information on the control of unwanted lawn pests can be found at the "Aggie Horticulture" web site. Additional information can also be found by contacting the Williamson County Extension office in Georgetown and speaking with the County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources at phone number 512/943-3300.

I hope this information will be of value to you. If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact us at eXtension again. Thanks.

Barron S. Rector, Extension Range Specialist
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Ecosystem Science and Management Department