Old Man's Beard

Europe, South West Asia

General description

Deciduous, woody vine. Mature vines have stringy, pale brown bark with longitudinal furrows. Pale to dark green leaves, 5 leaflets, variable in shape (heart-shaped, rounded or lance shaped); usually have serrated edge covered with very fine hairs. Small greenish-white flowers (Dec-Feb). Fluffy cream, pompom-shaped seedheads (Mar-Sept).

Forest & remnants, hedgerows, roadsides, riverbanks, light gaps in mature forest. Prefers well-drained alluvial soils. Tolerates wide range of habitats.

Seeds dispersed by wind, water, also in soil. Stem fragments also spread by water, garden rubbish.

Smothers all host plants, particularly in modified forests. Prevents establishment of native seedlings.

Site management

Replant bared areas promptly to minimise seedling regrowth. Check for seedlings 6-monthly.

Recommended approaches

1. Report it immediately to the Auckland Council Biosecurity team, who will arrange for its control at their expense.
2. Slash thick stems at ground level & at 1m above ground to prevent stump resprouting & aerial roots attaching from hanging stems. Paint stumps (1g metsulfuron/1L or 100ml Tordon BK/1L or 100ml triclopyr/1L or 200ml glyphosate/1L or 200ml 2,4-D plus dicamba/1L or Vigilant Gel).
3. Use vial treatment good for ground infestations. Pull up all stems possible & dispose. Treat remainder by placing vines in vials 5-10m apart containing metsulfuron 1g/20ml. Move monthly until plant eradicated.
4. Spring - autumn, overall spray if underlying vegetation is undesirable (200ml glyphosate/10L or 5g metsulfuron/10L or 60ml triclopyr/10L or 60ml Tordon BK/10L or 125ml clopyralid/10L (Do not use clopyralid in home gardens.)).

Caution: when using any herbicide or pesticide PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

moth plant
Araujia hortorum

Moth plant has opposite leaves with wavy leaf margins. Milky sap is exuded when plant is broken. Produces large 'choko' like seed pods. The vine is evergreen.

Clematis flammula
Clematis flammula

Clematis flammula has bi-pinnate leaves (compound, twice divided) rather than the pinnate leaves of old man's beard.

Clematis paniculata

Native Clematis spp are evergreen, have 3 leaflets, much larger flowers, flower in spring not summer, have smooth or slightly rough bark that is not ribbed.

Search tags

RPMS status

Total Control - Whole Region
National Pest Plant Accord species - nationwide
old man's beard - Main species image