Image: Dan Clark, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
India rubber vine is a large, woody vine with stems that have numerous small, raised pores (lenticels). Flowers are 2-2.5 inches long, reddish-purple or sometimes light pink-violet in color, and fruit pods are large, 4-6.25 inches long.
Impacts: India rubber vine is capable of forming dense, impenetrable thickets, smothering trees up to 90 feet tall and altering vegetation in all layers below it. It can also invade pastureland to become a major agricultural pest. India rubber vine may act as a fire promoter because it burns easily and can therefore spread fires to the canopy level, acting as a fire ladder. It is a poisonous plant that is toxic to livestock as well as humans.
Dispersal Mechanism:: Seeds are attached to a plume of silky hairs and primarily wind-dispersed, but can also be spread by birds and in fresh water. If you see it anywhere- let someone know!
Madagascar rubber vine (Cryptostegia madagascariensis):
India rubber vine may be easily confused with the more common, related plant Madagascar rubber vine. They differ in that India rubber vine has larger flowers (2-2.5 inches long) and fruit pods (4-6.25 inches long) compared to Madagascar rubber vine (flowers 1.25-1.4 inches long, fruit pods 2-3.75 inches long). Because growing conditions can affect flower and fruit size, India rubber vine may also be distinguished by the forked filaments on the crown-shaped structure inside the flower, whereas this feature on the flowers of Madagascar rubber vine has a single filament. In addition, India rubber vine has relatively smaller, more numerous lenticels on its stems.
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.