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Public’s help sought to detect noxious weed

Photos by Les Merhoff

Mile-a-minute has pale green triangular leaves (approximately two to three inches long and two to three-and-a-half inches wide) alternating along a narrow, barbed reddish stem with distinctive funnel-shaped leafy structures, called ocreae. Its seeds are berry-like iridescent blue.

May 1, 2013

UPPER DELAWARE RIVER VALLEY — The Wayne County Conservation District (WCCD) and Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River (UPDE) are seeking the help of the public to identify locations of a noxious, non-native weed called mile-a-minute vine, one of 13 listed on the Pennsylvania Noxious Weed List and on UPDE’s Early Detection and Rapid Response List.

Both agencies believe it is a new introduction to this region, having first been detected in 2011 in Lackawaxen, PA on the banks of the Delaware River just downstream from the Lackawaxen boat launch, and discovered again in 2012 along the Lackawaxen River in Honesdale, PA.

Mile-a-minute vine (Polygonum perfoliatum) can grow up to six inches in one day and can reach over 20 feet long in one growing season. It easily climbs over surrounding vegetation to form dense, tangled mats that shade out the sun and choke underlying plants. Sometimes known as Asiatic tearthumb, it should not be confused with the commonly found Arrowleaf tearthumb (Polygonum sagittatum), which is a native species and has leaves in the shape of narrow arrowheads.

If you spot mile-a-minute vine, or think it is growing on your property, contact WCCD at 570/253-0930, or UPDE at 570/729-7842.