Anredera cordifolia

Common Name: heartleaf madeiravine 
Type: Vine
Family: Basellaceae
Native Range: Southern Brazil to northern Argentina
Zone: 9 to 11
Height: 12.00 to 100.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: September to October
Bloom Description: Creamy white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 9-11 where this vine is easily grown in humusy, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. This is a subtropical vine that only tolerates brief instances of light frost. It is evergreen, aggressive and difficult to control in warm frost-free climates (Zones 9-11), but deciduous and less aggressive in climates where winter frost occurs. Stems will be killed to the ground by hard frosts, but plants will resprout in spring as long as the roots do not freeze over winter. This vine may be root hardy to as far north as Zone 7, but needs a good winter root mulch. North of Zone 7, tubers can be dug in fall and brought indoors for overwintering after the above ground vine succumbs to frost but before the tubers freeze. Established plants have some drought tolerance. Plants spread primarily by axillary tubers which drop to the ground to generate new plants. Tubers in waterways can easily be transported to new locations.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Anredera cordifolia, commonly known as Madeira vine or mignonette vine, is an aggressive succulent climbing perennial vine that can rapidly invade areas in mild, frost-free, subtropical to tropical regions in a manner which smothers, collapses, breaks the branches of, and sometimes kills native trees and understory plants with the heft and vigor of its vine stems, fleshy leaves, aerial tubers, and lamb’s tail-like sprays of tiny white flowers. Madeira vine grows from fleshy rhizomes. It climbs by counterclockwise twining reddish-green stems (no tendrils) to as much as 120’ (10-20’ per year). Its weight alone is enough to break tree branches, sometimes reducing a tree to a limb-less pole. When unsupported, it can form thick mats of groundcover that overwhelm low-lying vegetation and inhibit natural regeneration. It is native to relatively dry sub-tropical areas of South America in Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, southern Brazil and northern Argentina, but has over time been cultivated around the world as an ornamental plant. It was introduced into the U.S. in the early 1800s where it has now naturalized in Florida, Louisiana, Texas and California. It was introduced into Europe in the early to mid 1800s, with subsequent naturalization occurring in southern Europe from Portugal to Serbia. In South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii it is considered to be an invasive weed. It has yet to rise to the level of being seriously invasive in the southern U.S.

Cordate bright green leaves (to 5” long) are ovate to lanceolate. Wart-like tubers on aerial stems are often produced in abundance. Tubers are also produced underground. Small fragrant creamy white flowers in drooping flower spikes (racemes to 12” long) bloom from the upper leaf axils in late summer to fall (depending on location). Species plants have both male and female flowers, but they rarely produce seed. Reddish young stems mature to gray brown.

This vine is a source of food (edible leaves and tubers). Leaves may be added to salads or cooked like spinach. Rhizomatous roots may be cooked like potatoes (not overly tasty however).

Genus name derives from the Spanish word enredadera which refers to a twining or climbing plant.

Specific epithet comes from the Latin words cordata meaning heart-shaped and folia meaning leaved in reference to the heart-shaped leaves of this plant.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Greenhouse plants are susceptible to spider mites and aphids.

Garden Uses

Can be trained to twine up trellises, fences or walls for ornamental purposes or screening.