Persicaria perfoliata (L.) H. Gross
Buckwheat family (Polygonaceae)

Origin: India, Eastern Asia and the islands from Japan to the Philippines

Mile-a-minute, also called Devil’s-tail tearthumb, was experimentally introduced into Portland, Oregon in 1890, and in 1937 to Beltsville, Maryland, but did not become established at either site. An additional unintentional introduction in the 1930s to a nursery site in York County, Pennsylvania was successful, was allowed to reproduce, and is the likely source of this invasive plant in the mid-Atlantic and northeastern United States. Seeds of the plant may have been spread with rhododendron stock. In the past 70 years, the range for this plant in the United States has expanded more than 300 mi. from the York County site.

Britt Slattery, USFWS

Bill Johnson

Distribution and Habitat
Mile-a-minute is found in the northeast from Virginia to New York to Ohio and Oregon. It invades open and disturbed areas, such as fields, forest edges, stream banks, wetlands, roadsides and wetlands.

Ecological Threat
Mile-a-minute grows rapidly, producing a thick tangle of vines over herbaceous and woody plants and even scrambling up into trees. Thick tangles block sunlight and limit photosynthesis which eventually kills covered plants.

Description and Biology

Prevention and Control
Manual and chemical methods can be employed for control of mile-a-minute weed but biological control is the most promising and cost-effective methods currently available. Young vines can be removed by hand wearing gloves and long-sleeves to avoid injury from the numerous barbs. Pulling vines that have mature fruits should be done with care to avoid spreading seeds. Contact and systemic herbicides are effective in controlling it (see Control Options).

Native Alternatives
After eradicating, if no native plants emerge, plant area with native species appropriate to site conditions. See References.


Return to the Table of Contents | Download a PDF of Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas

Comments, suggestions, and questions about the website should be directed to the webmaster.
Last updated:11-Nov-2010