Antigonon leptopus

Coral vine

Nonnative to FloridaFISC Category 2 Invasive
Species Overview

Native to: Mexico

Coral vine was introduced into Florida as an ornamental around 1924 and is often grown as a landscaping plant in the southeast and Gulf regions of the United States. It produces beautiful light pink to dark pink flower clusters. Coral vine is used for its vining habit to cover fences or climb trellises. It tolerates poor soil and a wide range of light conditions, making it a very successful invasive plant species. Coral vine has become an invasive species and has increased in abundance in south and central Florida.

Description
  • Family: Polygonaceae
  • Habit: fast growing climbing vine that holds via tendrils and is able to reach 25 feet or more in length
  • Leaves: alternate, simplel, cordate (heart shaped), sometimes triangular leaves are 2½ to 7½ cm long
  • Flowers: flowers are borne in panicles, clustered along the rachis, producing pink to white flowers from spring to fall
  • Fruit: achenes, cone-shaped or three-angled (8-12 mm long and 4-7 mm wide) and shiny in appearance
  • Seeds: prolific seeds that float on water
  • Distribution in Florida: statewide

 

Impacts

There are many methods of reproduction and dispersal that aid in the survival of coral vine. Not only is coral vine a prolific seed producer, but the seeds will float on water, dispersing the plant to new locations. Fruits and seeds are eaten and spread by wildlife such as birds, raccoons, and pigs. Coral vine also forms underground tubers and large rootstocks, which will resprout if the plant is cut back or damaged by frost. Antigonon leptopus is a smothering vine that invades disturbed areas and forest edges, quickly covering nearby plants and structures.

Coral vine is not recommended by IFAS. The UF/IFAS Assessment has determined it has high invasive risk and it is listed as a Category II invasive by FLEPPC.

Management Plan


Management Options

The first step in preventative control of coral vine is to limit planting and remove existing plants within the landscape. If possible, removal should occur before seeds are produced. Care must be exercised to prevent seed spread and dispersal during the removal process.

Cultural/Physical

Remove coral vine and replace with native vines such as cross vine (Bignonia capreolata), Florida milk pea (Galactia regularis), Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens), coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), and purple passionflower (Passiflora incarnata).

Mechanical

There is limited research and data on mechanical control of coral vine. Continuous cutting will be effective in depleting food reserves, but this process will take several cycles. If plants are physically removed, underground tubers must be removed or plants will re-sprout.

Biological

There is limited research and data on biological control of coral vine.

Chemical
  • Foliar: 5% glyphosate product, 0.12–0.25% Milestone, 2–3% Garlon 4

Additional Resources


  1. Atlas of Florida Plants
  2. UF/IFAS Assessment of Nonnative Plants in Florida's Natural Areas
  3. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service- Plants Database
  4. EDIS Publication- Integrated Management of Nonnative Plants in Natural Areas of Florida
  5. Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)
  6. View the herbarium images from the University of Florida Herbarium Digital Imaging Projects