Calopo

Native to tropical America, calopo is a flowering and fruiting vine. Calopo was introduced to Australia as a pasture legume but has low palatability. It is an aggressive creeper that can smother native vegetation and sugar cane.

Calopo is not a prohibited or restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Calopogonium mucunoides

Other names

  • Calapo, wild ground nut

Description

  • Annual vine with stems covered in brownish hairs.
  • Leaves are trifoliate, 3-6cm long, with rounded and densely hairy leaflets.
  • Flowers are pea-shaped, pale bluish-purple with yellow-green centres, in clusters on stalks arising in leaf axils to 20cm long.
  • Fruit are brown, narrow, flattened, densely hairy pods, about 15cm long, constricted between seeds.
  • Seeds are brown or yellow, compressed, squarish, 2-3mm long, with each seed pod containing 5-7 seeds.

Habitat

  • Widespread in cane fields, on roadside banks, on edges of rainforest, and in other disturbed areas.

Distribution

  • Naturalised in north Queensland.
  • Most widespread on Cape York Peninsula in far north Queensland.

Life cycle

  • Self-fertile and seeds freely.
  • Can act as annual in seasonally dry environments.

Impacts

Environmental

  • Can smother supporting vegetation.

Economic

  • Can smother sugar cane.

How it is spread

  • Spreads naturally under favourable conditions.

Control

Physical control

  • Hand-pull isolated plants and small infestations, making sure to remove all roots and stem fragments.

Herbicide control

  • Only 1 chemical (glufosinate-ammonium) is registered for use on calopo in various agricultural and non-agricultural situations, including rights-of-way, commercial, industrial and public land in Queensland.
  • Off-label use permit (Permit No. PER11463) allows other herbicides for control of environmental weeds in non-agricultural areas, bushland, forests, wetlands, and coastal and adjacent areas.

See the Calopo fact sheet (PDF, 324KB) for herbicide control and application rates.

Biological control

  • No known biological control agents.

Legal requirements

  • Calopo is not a prohibited or restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014. However, by law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals under their control.
  • Local governments must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants and animals in their area. This plan may include actions to be taken on certain species. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local government for more information.

Further information