Hiptage

Native to parts of Asia, hiptage can grow as a shrub or a vine depending on its environment. Originally planted in Queensland as a garden ornamental, hiptage has since established wild populations at several coastal locations. It can invade forest and smother native vegetation. Hiptage has the potential to become a significant pest.

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

Scientific name

Hiptage benghalensis

Description

  • Perennial plant that is more shrub-like in open areas, but more vine-like in rainforest, where it can grow to more than 15m tall.
  • Leaves are opposite, elliptical, 9-19cm long, 4-9cm wide, shiny on top, with leafstalks up to 1cm long.
  • Flowers are white tinged with pink and bright yellow markings, fragrant, up to 20cm long, in clusters containing 10-30 flowers.
  • Fruit ('samara') has 3 papery wings 2-5cm long that float on wind and contain 1-3 seeds.
  • Seeds are pale brown, round, 5-6mm.

Habitat

  • Prefers shady, moist sites, such as riparian areas (banks of creeks and rivers) and closed forests.
  • Found in coastal subtropics and tropics.

Distribution

  • Found in small, scattered populations in coastal South East Queensland and wet tropics, particularly around Mossman.
  • Potential to become more abundant and widespread.

Life cycle

  • Reproduces from seeds.
  • Produces seeds at about 3 years.
  • Can flower year-round, with peak over spring and summer.

Impacts

Environmental

  • Smothers native vegetation along banks of creeks and rivers in coastal areas.
  • Invades rainforests and seasonally dry, lowland closed forests.

How it is spread

  • Seeds are spread by wind and water.

Control

Physical control

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

Herbicide control

  • No herbicide currently registered for control of hiptage in Queensland; however, an off-label use permit (Permit No. PER11463) allows use of various herbicides for control of environmental weeds in non-agricultural areas, bushland, forests, wetlands, and coastal and adjacent areas.
  • Large plants are best treated with cut-stump method.

Biological control

  • No known biological control agents.

Legal requirements

  • Hiptage 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