Flame vine

Pyrostegia venusta -- Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants

Pyrostegia venusta

Non-Native to Florida

Pyrostegia venusta is locally invasive to small geographic areas or single locations. At Archbold Biological Station (ABS), it has spread beyond the original introduction point into scrub habitat. It has also been reported to invade state forest lands in Polk County.

Flame vine grows rapidly covering trees, fences, and other structures and should be avoided as an ornamental or landscape plant. In Florida, this species spreads vegetatively and is not known to produce seeds. The potential range of this plant in the United States includes warmer regions such as peninsula Florida, southern Louisiana, southeastern Texas, southwestern Arizona, and coastal California.

If ambient temperatures drop below -2.0 °C, flame vine is damaged or top-killed, but re-sprouts. Flame vine can form near complete canopy cover over the shrubs and trees.  Once established, flame vine spreads vertically creating a closed canopy cover and altering the structure and composition of the area it has invaded.  Its horizontal matrix of roots and nodes makes control very difficult once the plant is established.

Flame vine is adaptable to a wide array of habitat types from tropical forests to xeric habitats such as scrub, but appears to require moisture or shade for initial establishment.  Pyrostegia venusta exhibits the potential to become a problematic plant in xeric habitat, and possibly other natural areas of Florida such as tropical hardwood hammocks and other mesic habitats if it becomes a highly popular landscape plants.

Pyrostegia venusta is native to South America, but escaped cultivation (Wunderlin, 2003). It blooms in the spring.

Content and some photographs were provided by Jeff Hutchinson.