Moth vine, (Araujia sericifera)
Moth vine comes from South America. It has attractive white flowers which are followed by a fruit which is often mistaken for a choko. The fruit has pale, dull green skin which dries out and splits to reveal numerous seeds which are black with a tuft of white hairs 2-3 cm long. Moth vine is fairly common in gardens and neighbouring bushland and weedy areas around Helensburgh.
It is an invader of bushland as the seed is dispersed by wind and water. It climbs through vegetation and the heavy weight of fruiting vines can break limbs and bring down weaker shrubs and trees. Dense growth smothers smaller vegetation and impedes over-storey regeneration.
Where moth vine is climbing up through garden plants, it is best to remove any fruit and then cut the stem near the ground. Dig out the roots. Seedlings and small plants can be hand-pulled or dug out.
Moth vine’s latex can be highly irritating and allergenic. Always wear gloves when handling plants and avoid getting latex in the eyes or mouth.
Grow Me Instead
Wonga wonga vine, Pandorea pandorana
This is a vigorous Australian native twining plant. One of the selected colour forms is ‘Snowbells’ which has pure white flowers.
Old man’s beard, Clematis aristata
A local native vine which flowers in spring, this species is most attractive with its masses of creamy white flowers.
Chinese star jasmine, Trachelospermum jasminoides
A hardy climber or ground cover plant with perfumed white flowers in spring. Apparently, its irritating, milky latex-like sap makes it resistant to the depredations of Australian possums.