Balloon vine

Native to the tropical Americas, West Indies and Africa, balloon vine is named for its fruits, which are inflated capsules with pointed tips. Balloon vine smothers native vegetation and prevents plants from receiving sunlight needed for photosynthesis. It is widespread in South East Queensland and northern New South Wales.

Balloon vine is a restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Cardiospermum grandiflorum

Other names

Heart seed vine

Description

  • Vine up to 10m tall.
  • Leaves are made up of 9 leaflets, which have toothed margins and are dark green, 6-16cm long.
  • Leaf stalk is 2-10cm long with 3 leaflets.
  • Flowers are white and 8-10mm.
  • Flowers grow in clusters with tendrils at base and in leaf axils.
  • Fruit capsules are inflated, 6-ribbed, 4-8cm long, covered with stiff hairs, contain 3 seeds.
  • Seeds are blackish, round, about 7mm wide.

Habitat

  • Can grow in gardens and riparian areas.

Distribution in Queensland

  • Widespread in South East Queensland.

Life cycle

  • Flowers in spring and summer.
  • Seedlings germinate most of the year on disturbed land.

Impacts

Environmental

  • Smothers native vegetation.
  • Prevents plants from receiving sunlight needed for photosynthesis.

How it is spread

  • Seeds spread by wind and water.

Control

Physical control

  • Manually remove small infestations.
  • Hand-pull roots.
  • Use a brush hook or similar to remove thicker growth from top of plant.

Herbicide control

  • Combine manual and herbicide control to prevent regrowth.

See the Balloon or heart seed vine fact sheet (PDF, 900KB) for herbicide control and application rates.

Biological control

  • No known biological control agents.

Legal requirements

  • Balloon vine is a restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • It must not be given away, sold, or released into the environment without a permit.
  • The Act requires everyone to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals under their control. This is called a general biosecurity obligation (GBO).
  • At a local level, each local government must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants and animals in its 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.

More information