adaptive-background

Mikania

Preferred Scientific Name: Mikania micrantha

Mikania (Mikania micrantha) is a fast growing vine which is commonly referred to as the ‘mile-a-minute weed.’ It was introduced to parts of Asia in the early 20th century, where it quickly became a problem.

Read more Down

Why is it a problem?

As a climbing vine, it grows rapidly and smothers crops. This often suppresses the growth of the crop and can kill the host plant. This not only has a negative impact on biodiversity, but it also can ruin the livelihoods of people who live within forest communities, as they rely on the growth of the crops which Mikania smothers.

The spread of Mikania can also take over the habitat of mammals such as rhinos, tigers and antelope. This caused them to migrate to other areas where there is no regulation to protect them from poaching. 

Impacts

  • Reduced resources (eg. fodder)
  • Loss of large mammal habitat
  • Reduces native biodiversity
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods

What’s the solution

Manual control

In Malaysia, it has been found that the grazing of Dorset Horn sheep can aid control efforts. Especially when a herb layer is established along the ground, as this helps to prevent germination of seeds. However, attempts of both chemical and mechanical control have proved to be expensive and inefficient.

Biological control

Research into natural enemies of the plant suggested that there were nine insects that could serve as possible biocontrol agents. Of these, a species of Thrip called Liothrips mikaniae was suggested to tackle the weed. Unfortunately all of the releases failed, as the Thrips fell prey to native spiders and ants. Further research into a possible rust fungus (Puccinia spegazzinii) is being carried out. 

Fact file

Name Mikania

Distribution

Africa, Asia, North/ South/ Central America and Oceania

For more information on distribution, view the full datasheet available here

Habitat

Damp clearings

Natural enemies

Nine natural enemies were suggested as possibly bio control agents, but it was found that they themselves showed risk of becoming invasive

Invasiveness

Highly mobile and reproduces quickly. Is also tolerant to control mechanisms

Likelihood of entry

Difficult to detect, expensive to control and easy to accidentally transport

Climate

Tropical

Plant type

Vine

Further reading

Visit our online resource of research and full text articles and journals
Invasive Species Compendium

More invasive species

More Species