mile-a-minute weed

Polygonales > Polygonaceae > Polygonum perfoliatum L.
Synonym(s): devil's tearthumb

Mile-a-minute weed is an herbaceous, annual vine that invades disturbed areas in Oregon and portions of the northeastern United States. The delicate stems are reddish, highly branched and covered with small, curved spines. Circular, leafy structures (ocreae) surround the stem at the base of the petioles. The alternate leaves are triangular, light green, 1-3 in. (2.5-7.6 cm) wide and barbed on the undersurface. Small, white, inconspicuous flowers arise from the ocreae. Fruits, present in mid-July through the first frost, are metallic blue and segmented with each segment containing a single black or reddish black seed. Mile-a-minute weed invades open disturbed areas such as fields, forest edges, roadsides, ditches and stream banks. Its rapid growth allows it to cover existing vegetation and restrict light availability, potentially killing plants below. Dense mats of mile-a-minute weed can also restrict establishment of new vegetation. Mile-a-minute weed is native to Eastern Asia and the Philippines and was introduced several times into the United States from the late 1800s to the 1930s.


Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

  • Weeds of the Week - USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area, Forest Health Protection

Selected Images from Invasive.org

Click on each thumbnail to download the image at 1536x1024 resolution or below for available resolutions.
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Foliage;
Britt Slattery, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bugwood.org
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Foliage;
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); Armed Stems
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s);  immature
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s); Close-up of Fruits and Ocreate
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
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Seedling(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
768x512

Invasive Reference(s):

Check Invasive.org for most current lists.
  • Alabama - Noxious Weed Law
  • Connecticut - Noxious Weed Law
  • Massachusetts - Noxious Weed Law
  • North Carolina - Noxious Weed Law
  • Ohio - Noxious Weed Law
  • Pennsylvania - Noxious Weed Law
  • Rhode Island - Noxious Weed Law
  • South Carolina - Noxious Weed Law
  • Virginia - Invasive Alien Plant Species
  • Mid-Atlantic - EPPC List
  • Invasive Plants: Guide to Identification and the Impacts and Control of Common North American Species
  • Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest
  • Invasive Plant Atlas of New England


External Links


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USDA Forest Service Bugwood University of Georgia