Persicaria perfoliata - (L.) H. Gross
Mile-a-minute-weed
Other English Common Names: Asiatic Tearthumb
Other Common Names: Asiatic tearthumb
Synonym(s): Polygonum perfoliatum L.
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Polygonum perfoliatum L. (TSN 20914)
French Common Names: renouée perfoliée
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.145545
Element Code: PDPGN0L1U0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Buckwheat Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Polygonales Polygonaceae Persicaria
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Polygonum perfoliatum
Taxonomic Comments: FNA (vol. 5, 2005) transfers Polygonum perfoliatum to Persicaria perfoliata.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Global Status Last Changed: 22Mar1994
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
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United States Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (SNA), District of Columbia (SNA), Kentucky (SNA), Maryland (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New York (SNA), North Carolina (SNA), Ohio (SNA), Oregon (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), Rhode Island (SNA), Virginia (SNA), West Virginia (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

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Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CTexotic, DCexotic, DEexotic, KYexotic, MDexotic, NCexotic, NJexotic, NYexotic, OHexotic, ORexotic, PAexotic, RIexotic, VAexotic, WVexotic

Range Map
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Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Medium
Rounded I-Rank: Medium
I-Rank Reasons Summary: This aggressive vine spread rapidly from its initial introduction site in the 1930s and is continuing to expand its range. It primarily infests relatively low-quality, disturbed habitats but also may threaten some rare species and higher-quality native habitats. Large infestations can essentially outcompete, cover, and smother all vegetation below.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Low
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: Medium
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: High/Medium
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Low
I-Rank Review Date: 05Jan2006
Evaluator: Maybury, K.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: From India to eastern Asia including islands from Japan to the Philippines; primarily in temperate areas (Mountain 1995).

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium/Low

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: No reports of significant changes in abiotic processes found.

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:High significance
Comments: In more open areas and forest edges this vine can form a dense mat that covers everything, including small trees (Wu et al. 2002).

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Large infestations can cover and block light from all plants below, weakening and eventually killing them; will eventually reduce native plant species in natural areas (Gerlach Okay 2005). Overgrows and outcomptetes native vegetation (Oliver and Coile 1994; IPANE, not dated).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Insignificant
Comments: No reports of disproportionate impacts on a particular species found.

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Medium/Low significance
Comments: This species is commonly found in roadsides, ditches, rights-of-way, vacant lots, clearcuts and young tree farms, and other disturbed habitats (Gerlach Okay 2005'; Weakley 2005; IPANE, not dated). It may also be found in wet meadows that may support rare wetland plants (DCR and VNPS, not dated) and in natural riparian and floodplain areas (Wu et al. 2002, Gerlach Okay 2005). Fire-adapted rare native plants that have remnant populations in rights-of-way and other areas that mimic natural disturbance could be at risk.

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: Medium

6. Current Range Size in Nation:Low significance
Comments: Currently escaped in the East from Virginia north to Rhode Island and west to Ohio. Oregon report is historic (long since eradicated). Reports from Mississippi are erroneous (Heather Sullivan, pers. comm.); apparently based on a SIDA paper reporting on the "Mississippi Drainage."

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:High significance
Comments: At least some negative impacts assumed everywhere.

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:Low significance
Comments: Eight to twelve ecoregions estimated.

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: Inferred.

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: High/Medium

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Since it escaped a nursery in York County, PA the 1930s, this species has been steadily expanding its range (Oliver and Coile 1994, Mountain 1995, Gerlach Okay 2005) and there is no reason to assume range expansion is not continuing. It has so far expanded 300 miles out from its initial escape (Gerlach Okay 2005).

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Moderate significance
Comments: Gerlach Okay (2005) estimates that the current range is only about 20 percent of the estimated possible range for this species. In its native range it is widely distributed but is primarily a temperate species: Wu et al. (2002) note that it is distributed widely in southern China, becomes less frequent in northern China, and is found, but is not abundant in, tropical areas. The plant is a tender annual and dies at the first frost but has seeds that must undergo a minimum 8 week period of temperatures 10 degrees C or below in order to break dormancy and germinate (Gerlach Okay 2005); however, in milder areas in Asia, this species is observed to act as a perennial, persisting all year (Wu et al. 2002). Mountain (1995) indicates a "subarctic to subtropical" range. According to Gerlach Okay (2005) the species demonstrates a preference for high soil moisture (although it can survive "relatively low" soil moisture levels) and can grow in extremely wet areas. Similarly, DCR and VNPS (not dated) note that it generally grows in areas with an abundance of leaf litter which keeps the soil moist and may aid in germination. Given these temperature and moisture paramenters, it seems likely that the species could easily spread into much of the southeastern U.S., as well as farther into the Midwest and New England. Some riparian areas in the West could conceivably be at risk as well.

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: Birds can disperse the seeds moderately long distances as can water (fruit can remail buoyant for 7-9 days per Gerlach Okay [2005]). Seeds are also inadvertently transported in nursery stock (e.g., IPANE, not dated).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:High significance
Comments: Many sources note that this species is spreading rapidly (e.g., Hartwig 1995, Weakley 2005).

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Low significance
Comments: Generally colonizes open, disturbed areas (e.g., Wu et al. 2002, Gerlach Okay 2005). Light---at least 63% of the available sunlight---is required for this species to successfully colonize a site (Okay 2005). Areas that have "little canopy cover, sparse vegetation, a good moisture regime, a protective leaf mulch, and continual disturbance... are vulnerable" (Gerlach Okay 1995).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Low significance
Comments: Introduced into Turkey (Guner 1984 as cited in Mountain 1995) but assumption is that habitat(s) invaded is similar.

16. Reproductive Characteristics:High significance
Comments: Extremely agressive with many ruderal characteristics. Prolific seed production (not quantified) over a long season (Gerlach Okay 2005) and seeds remain viable for as long as 4 years (Johnson 1996 as cited in Wu et al. 2002). As the common name indicates, has a very fast growth rate, widely estimated a 6 inches per day. Can reach reproductive maturity very early in the season and can alter the allocation of energy from vegetative growth to earlier reproduction when intraspecific competition is high (Gerlach Okay 1995).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Low

17. General Management Difficulty:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Plants have a shallow root system and can be hand-pulled (using protective clothing to avoid the recurved barbs) (Gerlach Okay 2005; DCR and VNPS, not dated). Repeated mowing or cultivation can also prevent seed set (Okay 2005). Herbicides with a surfactant can be repeatedly applied where necessary (see Gerlach Okay 2005).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Low significance
Comments: If plants were ever allowed to set seed, seed is said to remain viable for up to 4 years (Johnson 1996 as cited in Wu et al. 2002) and new plants should be assiduously looked for and removed each year prior to reproductive maturity.

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Low significance
Comments: If glyphosphate is resorted to, as recomended by some, this non-selective herbicide will affect all vegetation tangled up with mile-a-minute vine (DCR and VNPS, not dated). However, less harmful herbicidal soaps can be effective if reapplied throughout the growing season (Gerlach Okay 2005).

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Low significance
Comments: Accessibility issues assumed to be reasonably low. Even on private lands, few would want this unattractive, skin-shredding weed to spread and would presumably take steps to eradicate it. Tree farms, young forest plantations, orchards, and and areas where reforestation/restoration is taking place are especially at risk and would presumably agressively combat any infestation.

Other Considerations: See Kumar and DiTommaso (2005) for a general review of the key aspects of the history, biology, impact, and managment of this plant.
Authors/Contributors
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Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Department of Conservation and Recreation [DCR] and Virginia Native Plant Society [VNPS]. Not dated. Invasive alien plant species of Virginia: Mile-a-minute. Online: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/dnh/invlist.htm. Accessed 2006.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2005. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 5. Magnoliophyta: Caryophyllidae: Caryophyllales, Polygonales, and Plumbaginales. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. vii + 656 pp.

  • Gerlach Okay, J. A. 1995. The role of biological and ecological factors in controlling the progression of mile-a-minute (Polygonum perfoliatum). In: Conference proceedings, Mile-a-Minute, July 17-18, 1995, York, PA. The Pennsylvania State University, State College.

  • Gerlach Okay, J. A. 2005 (last updated 20 May- 2005). Mile-a-minute weed. PCA Alien Plant Working Group factsheet. Online: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact. Accessed 2006.

  • Hartwig, N. L. 2002. History of mile-a-minute (devli's tearthumb) in Pennsylvania. In: Conference proceedings, Mile-a-Minute, July 17-18, 1995, York, PA. The Pennsylvania State University, State College.

  • Invasive Plant Atlas of New England [IPANE]. Not dated. Polygonum perfoliatum. Online: http://webapps.lib.uconn.edu/ipane/browsing.cfm?descriptionid=13. Accessed 2006.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kumar, V. and A. DiTommaso. Mile-a-minute (Polygonum perfoliatum): An increasingly problematic invasive species. Weed technology 19: 1071-1077.

  • Mountain, W. L. 2002. Mile-a-minute - History, distribution and habitat. In: Conference proceedings, Mile-a-Minute, July 17-18, 1995, York, PA. The Pennsylvania State University, State College.

  • Oliver, J. D., and N. C. Coile. 1994. Polygonum perfoliatum L. (Polygonaceae), the mile-a-minute weed. Botany circular No. 29, Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Gainsville.

  • Weakley, A. S. 2005. Flora of the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia. Draft as of June 10, 2005. UNC Herbarium, North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill. Available online: http://www.herbarium.unc.edu/flora.htm. Accessed 2006.

  • Wu, Y., C. Reardon, and D. Jian-qing. 2002. Mile-a-minute weed. In: Van Driesche, R. et al. 2002. Biological control of invasive plants in the eastern United States. USDA Forest Service Publication FHTET-2002-4.

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