Native to: Southern Asia, India, China
Sewer vine is closely related to the much more widespread invasive plant skunkvine (Paederia foetida) which was introduced to USDA Field Station at Brooksville, Florida, as a potential fiber crop in the late 19th century. By 1916 it was noted as troublesome in the surrounding area. It is believed that sewer vine was likely introduced at the same time and only more recently distinguished as a separate species. The common name refers to a foul odor that comes from its leaves which contain sulfur compounds.
Habit: Semi-woody, climbing, twining vine, sometimes shrubby.
Leaves: Opposite, broadly lanceolate to elliptic, with relatively long petioles and smooth margins.
Flowers: Tubular, 7–11 mm long; pinkish to pale lilac with a purple throat, 5-lobed.
Fruit/Seeds: A flattened, orange to yellow, papery berry, to approximately 1 cm (0.4 in) in diameter; seeds winged.
Distribution in Florida: vouchered from Miami-Dade and Broward counties and reported from Marion and Hillsborough counties.
Sewer vine produces seeds that are dispersed by wildlife. Also, Stems that are in contact with the soil readily develop adventitious roots at the nodes, and each stem fragment with a node is capable of developing into a new plant. Rooted stem fragments may be transported by construction machinery, in fill dirt and in nursery stock. It can invade various native plant communities, including sandhills, floodplains, hammocks and upland mixed forests covering and shading out vegetation and disrupting forest succession.
Do not plant. Clean any equipment and gear when leaving infested areas.
Cut vine in canopy so that stems cannot reach the ground and dig out root system – very labor intensive. Care should be taken in plant disposal as stem fragments can take root and seeds can germinate in plant litter piles.
Mowing and tillage will provide some measure of control but are impractical in most situations and are not often recommended due to high cost and level of habitat disturbance.
0.15–0.25% Milestone, 3–5% glyphosate product. Basal bark: 10% Garlon 4. Within 2–4 weeks, re-treat the area with basal applications of 10% Garlon 4. This second treatment can be time-consuming because many underground runners sprout. The area should continue to be monitored for follow-up treatments. Consult your local UF IFAS Extension for further assistance with management recommendations. Additional information can be found in the EDIS Publication Integrated Management of Non-Native Plants in Natural Areas of Florida.
UF IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas
View records and images from University of Florida Herbarium