Madeira vine

Native to South America, Madeira vine is a vigorous climber that  can produce thousands of aerial tubers along its stem. It is a serious environmental invasive plant that can degrade intact native forests, completely altering the environments it dominates.

You must manage the impacts of Madeira vine on your land.

You must not give away, sell or release Madeira vine into the environment.

Scientific name

Anredera cordifolia

Other names

  • Potato vine, lambs tail vine

Similar species

  • Ceylon or malabar spinach (Basella alba or B. rubra)


  • Vigorous climbing vine.
  • Leaves are light green, heart-shaped, fleshy, 4–5cm long.
  • Flower spikes are 10cm long, with numerous individual small flowers, resembling a lamb's tail.
  • Tubers are small, light brown or green, potato-like, growing along stems then falling to ground to sprout.


  • Prefers subtropical and warmer temperate areas.
  • Found in bushland, edges of rainforests, waterways, disturbed sites, waste areas, parks, gardens and roadsides.


  • Found in coastal and hinterland areas of central and South East Queensland and around Cairns and Atherton Tableland.
  • Visit Weeds Australia and click on the distribution tab to access the distribution map.

Life cycle

  • Produces dense blankets of creamy flower spikes December–April.

Affected animals

  • Native animals



  • Madeira vine is a serious environmental weed that can degrade intact native forests, completely altering environments it dominates (transformer species).
  • Smothers trees, shrubs and understorey species.
  • Can cause canopy collapse of mature trees due to weight of vine.
  • Can grow as a ground cover, disrupting native seedling germination and growth.

Economic and social

  • Madeira vine adds to infrastructure damage during floods by destabilising banks and creating increased resistance for floodwater, which can uproot trees.
  • Destruction of riverside vegetation by Madeira vine has led to increased bank erosion and water turbidity issues – affecting water catchment regions.

How it is spread

  • Spread by aerial tubers and sections of severed stem (seed production is rare in Australia).


Physical control

  • Avoid pulling vines from host trees, as disturbance may bring down dead tree branches and cause aerial tubers to fall.
  • Aerial tubers and immature plants can be carefully collected from soil surface surrounding infestations.
  • Dig up underground root systems and subterranean tubers; however, in large infestations (particularly in natural systems) excessive soil disturbance should be avoided.
  • Tubers may remain viable for several years. It is important to dispose of them appropriately. Small quantities can be frozen or 'cooked' in a microwave to stop them re-shooting. For large quantities, compost on site in an isolated area where regrowth can easily be foliar sprayed; or double-bag in non-biodegradable plastic bags and dispose of in general waste for deep burial.
  • Do not dispose of vines or tubers in green waste as this will spread the weed.

Herbicide control

  • Treat using scrape and paint application of herbicides, or foliar applied herbicides (where applicable).

Read the Madeira vine fact sheet (PDF, 1MB) for herbicide control guidelines and application rates.

Biological control

  • Leaf feeding beetle Plectonycha correntina was first released in Queensland in 2011.
  • Further releases of this beetle continue to be made in Queensland and New South Wales.
  • Both adult and larval stages feed on the leaves of madeira vine causing leaf damage and defoliation, and reducing the plant's capacity to produce and store energy.

Legal requirements

  • Madeira vine is a category 3 restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • You must not give away, sell or release Madeira vine into the environment. Penalties may apply.
  • You must take all reasonable and practical measures to minimise the biosecurity risks associated with dealing with Madeira vine under your control. This is called a general biosecurity obligation (GBO).
  • At a local level, each local government agency must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants and animals in its area. This plan may include actions to be taken on madeira vine. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local council for more information.

Further information