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Have you seen Ivy gourd (Coccinia grandis)?
Hawaii Early Detection Network Priority Pest for the islands of Kauai, Maui, Lanai, and Molokai


Rubber vine detail
Detail of ivy gourd leaves
Ivy gourd
Ivy gourd flower, fruit, and vine.
Rubber vine
Ivy gourd vines growing over power lines, Kihei, Maui.
Images: Forest & Kim Starr

Identification: This aggressive perennial vine of the cucumber family grows several meters long. It has STAR SHAPED WHITE FLOWERS with 5 petals and smooth bright RED FRUIT that are 2.5-8 cm (1-3 in) long. The leaves are alternate and variably shaped (sometimes deeply lobed.) Stem and leaves of the vine are mostly smooth (without hair).
Impacts: Ivy gourd grows aggressively and can climb over trees and shrubs as well as on fences and power lines. If left unchecked, ivy gourd can form a dense canopy that quickly smothers out its hosts under a solid blanket of vines.
Dispersal Mechanism: Ivy gourd is dispersed long distances by humans who grow the plant for food. This pest can also be dispersed unintentionally by the transport of plant material by humans. Ivy gourd seeds are spread by birds and rodents. Ivy gourd is currently only known to grow on Lanai (distributon unknown) and at a few locations on Maui (residential areas on East and West Maui, see map external link), and Kauai in Anahola, Moloa'a, Lihue, Shipwrecks, and Kekaha. If you see it anywhere else on Maui, Molokai, Lanai, or Kauai- let someone know!

More information about this pest external link


Ivy gourd look-alikes:


Bitter melon (Momordica charantia):
Bitter melon is a fast growing vine in the cucumber family that is widespread in Hawaii. The vine has thin stems and DEEPLY LOBED, alternate growing leaves that are often covered in hairs. This plant produces YELLOW FLOWERS. Oblong, prickly FRUITS turn from green to YELLOW or ORANGE at maturity.

Momordica charantia

Bitter melon (Momordica charantia)

Sicyos cucumerensis
Anunu (Sicyos cucmerensis) from upcountry Maui

Anunu (Sicyos species):
The native Hawaiian vines of the cucumber family are found sparsely across Hawaii and include some endangered species. Leave shape and flower color are variable. Look for

Sicyos pachycarpus
A'nunu (Sicyos pachycarpus) from Kaupo, Maui
Last Updated: Monday January 30 2012. If you have any questions about the Hawaii Early Detection Network contact reportapest-maui@lists.hawaii.edu.
Funding and support for this project was made possible by the Hawai'i Invasive Species Council, the USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry assistance, and University of Hawai'i-Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit.