This flowering vine can creep to lengths over 15 feet (4.6 m) along the ground or climbing up trees and stuctures. It can flower year round, covering the plant in bright orange daisy-like flowers about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter, followed by a fruiting body that looks like dandelion's puffy seed head, then a persisitant seed head. The jagged edged leaves (1-4.7 in long and 0.4-2.7 in wide) are shaped like arrowheads and are arranged alternately along the stem.
Impacts: Mexican Flame Vine tends to persist after cultivation and can become naturalized, overgrowing other plants and structures, eventually displacing native plants. Mexican flame vine is native to Mexico and Central America and has been introduced and become naturalized in Puerto Rico, Florida and the Galapagos. It can be found on Oahu, Maui, and only a few locations on the Big Island Hawaii (see map). The Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC) is trying to prevent it's spread. If you see it anywhere on the Big Island- let someone know!
Dispersal Mechanism: Mexican flame vine is primarily moved to new locations by people for landscaping and gardens. It can reproduce via its airborne seeds or vegetatively from small pieces of broken stem. This vine will form roots wherever it touches the ground.
Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia):
The Mexican sunflower is a garden plant that has naturalized on Kauai, Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii. It has similar flowers to the Mexican flame vine but does not grow into a vine.
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.