Cryptostegia Grandiflora: Rubber Vine-Get Rid of

Written by Iris

Sep 03 2021

Cryptostegia Grandiflora: Rubber Vine-Get Rid of
Native to Madagascar, Cryptostegia Grandiflora (Rubber Vine) is a fast-growing climber that usually has powder purple flowers (sometimes white to pink or lavender). Cryptostegia Grandiflora (Rubber Vine) has shiny dark green leaves, 2 to 4 inches long, triangular seed pods grown like wings, 3 to 4 inches long. The silky hairs on the seeds allow them to be transported by wind and water. Rubber vines grow on top of other plants and trees and can reach up to 50 feet, smothering other vegetation. It can also tightly wrap other plants and restrict their growth.
Rubber vine is also highly toxic: it contains cardioside, which interferes with the functioning of the human and animal hearts when the plant is ingested. When vines are dry, they produce powdery dust that causes violent coughs, swollen noses and blistering eyelids. Contact with the plant's milky SAP can cause searing rashes and blisters.

Cryptostegia Grandiflora (Rubber Vine) Appearance

Cryptostegia Grandiflora (Rubber Vine) is a woody climbing plant. rubber vine presents rampant growth and it can climb trees as high as 15 meters. In the open area, it forms loose multi-stemmed shrubs one to two meters high.
Leaves: cryptostegia grandiflora (Rubber Vine) has leaves that are six to ten centimeters long and five centimeters wide. The leaves are fleshy, glossy, and dark green. The leaves of Cryptostegia Grandiflora are arranged in pairs opposite each other on long, smooth fleshy stems. If you break the stem, milky juice will be released.
Flowers: Cryptostegia Grandiflora has large and showy white to mauve flowers which are 3.5-5cm wide. The flowers of rubber wine have five spreading lobes and broad funnel-shaped tubes. The tubular part is sometimes reddish. 
Seeds: Cryptostegia Grandiflora (Rubber Vine) form large pods about 15 cm long. Pods usually come in pairs, joined at the base to form an angled winglike shape on a short stem. The pods distinguish it from similar native plants. Each pod contains many seeds, each of which has a long tuft of white silk.

Where is Cryptostegia Grandiflora (Rubber Vine) found?

A Cryptostegia Grandiflora (Rubber Vine) has been found on several properties in northwest NSW. Cryptostegia Grandiflora (Rubber Vine) has been found around the homestead and shed and an eradication program is underway. Cryptostegia Grandiflora is native to southwest Madagascar. rubber vines are now found throughout East Africa, Southeast Asia, the United States and Central and South America. Rubber vines were planted in the gardens of mining towns in north Queensland in the 1860s. By 1917, there were reports of pests. During World War II, Cryptostegia Grandiflora (Rubber Vine) was planted as a potential source of Rubber. It has spread to many parts of Queensland, including south of Cape York, the Gulf of Carpentaria, along the coast as far south as Bundaberg and as far west as the Northern Territory border.

How does Cryptostegia Grandiflora (Rubber Vine) spread?

A hectare of Cryptostegia Grandiflora (Rubber Vine) can produce millions of seeds a year. Fresh seeds have high viability (95%) and most remain viable for 6 to 8 months. If conditions are too dry, most seeds will die after a year. The seeds can survive in the seed pod for more than a month, even if the pod floats in saltwater. Seeds travel short distances by wind and longer distances by water. Cryptostegia Grandiflora seed pod floats to help spread seeds along the waterway. The seeds can also be attached to animal fur and spread in soil or mud stuck to machines.

Cryptostegia Grandiflora (Rubber Vine) Toxicity

Human poisoning

SAP from the Cryptostegia Grandiflora (Rubber Vine) can irritate the skin and cause burning pain, rashes and blisters. Dust from dry plants can irritate the throat, nose, and eyes. All parts of the plant are poisonous if eaten. What to do if someone is poisoned: If the patient is unresponsive, unresponsive or having difficulty breathing, call emergency services or go to a hospital emergency room immediately. If the patient is conscious and responsive, call the poison information Center or contact your doctor. If you go to the hospital and get a plant for identification.

Livestock poisoning

All parts of the rubber vine plant are toxic to livestock including cattle, sheep, goats and horses. Unless other feeds are scarce, grazing animals seldom eat many rubber vine plants. In areas where the dry rubber vine plant leaves fall to the ground, animals die from food feed. Rubber vine Plant contains cardioside. These compounds affect the heart, brain, and gut. Cows that eat small amounts of rubber Vine plant canes can die from heart failure after strenuous exercises, such as rallies. The most common symptom is diarrhea, usually accompanied by blood.

Cryptostegia Grandiflora (Rubber Vine) Control

Physical Control

  • Fire
Infection can be controlled by burning Rubber vines. For best results, fuel loads must be prepared and managed prior to combustion, and subsequent site treatment must be performed after combustion. Two consecutive burns per year are recommended. The first fire will trigger an infestation to increase grass growth (fuel load) and kill Rubber vine plants. The second fire will clear the regeneration after the first fire.

Mechanical Control

Scattered or medium-density Rubber Vines infestation
Repeated felling near the ground is recommended.
Dense Rubber Vines infestation
During the winter, stick harrows or blade plows reduce a great deal of intrusion. Meadows should be sown and haystacks burned to kill remaining seeds. Follow-up treatment is essential.

Herbicide Control

  • Aerial application
Three herbicides are currently registered for aerial application. Two are foliar herbicides and one is a soil-applied herbicide. Conditions that apply to foliar and soil applications of these herbicides also apply to aerial application.
Call 13 25 23 for current advice on the use of this technique.
  • Foliar spray
Little to no rust must be present as it affects plant health and the ability to take up chemicals through leaves.
Plants must be actively growing, not water-stressed, yellowing, or bearing pods.
The wetting agent should be used with foliar herbicides.
Thoroughly spray bushes to point of run-off, wetting every leaf.
Avoid spraying when hot and dry (e.g. over 35°C), or when windy, especially with Agricrop Rubber Vine Spray.
Foliar spraying is most effective on plants less than 2m high. Large plants with a stem diameter over  8cm may not be killed.
  • Basal bark treatment
Thoroughly spray around the base of the plant to a height of 20−100cm above ground level, spraying higher on larger plants.
Results are optimal when the plant is actively growing.
  • Cut stump treatment
Cut the stem off as close to the ground as possible (within 15cm); for smaller plants use a machete or similar; larger plants may require a chainsaw.
Make sure the cut is horizontal.
Immediately spray or swab cut surface.
Brushcutter is a cost-effective method for scattered to medium-density infestations.
  • Soil application
Do not use residual herbicides within a distance of 2-3 times the height of desirable trees.
Do not use Graslan along waterways or land with greater than 20° slope.
A minimum of 50-80mm of rainfall is required before residual herbicides are taken up by the plant.
See the Rubber vine fact sheet (PDF, 2.9MB) for herbicide control and application rates.

Biological control

Two biological control agents are established. Their impact depends on abundance. Both agents cause abnormal defoliation, creating an 'energy sink' that appears to reduce seed production. These agents usually do not kill established plants.
  • Disease
Rubber vine rust (Maravalia cryptostegiae) is widely established and spread mainly by wind. Yellow spores form under leaves.
Rust is most active over summer, abundance is directly related to leaf wetness, which depends on rainfall and dew. Over summer, generation is completed every 7 days. Rust activity reduces over the dry season.
The continued heavy infection causes defoliation, appears to reduce seed production, can kill small seedlings, and causes dieback of stems. Established plants are not killed.
Defoliation promotes increased grass growth among rubber vine, increasing fuel loads required for fire management.
  • Insect
Moth Euclasta whalleyi, whose larvae are leaf feeders, is also established. Observation indicates moth prefers plants stressed by either limited soil moisture or high levels of rust infection.
The Moth's period of activity is the dry season. Native fly parasites and diseases can reduce larvae abundance.
Larvae are tapered at both ends, grow up to 30mm long, and are grey-brown with orange dots along sides. Fine silken threads and black, bead-like droppings are often found near larval feeding damage.
Creamy-brown moths are active at night and rest at a 45˚ angle from a surface, with wings folded. The life cycle from egg to adult takes 21–28 days.
Defoliation reduces the smothering effect on other vegetation, causes an increase in leaf litter, and promotes increased grass growth among rubber vine, increasing fuel loads required for fire management. Decreased flower and pod production should reduce the vine's ability to spread.