Swallow-worts

Photo by Brendan Quirion, APIPP

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Common Name: Black and pale swallow-worts
Scientific Name: Cynanchum spp.
Origin: Europe

Description

Black and pale swallow-worts are herbaceous, perennial, twining vines. Leaves are opposite and glossy. Small maroon to pale pink flowers are present in late May through late July. Seed pods are smooth, slender, and pointed and are abundant in late summer. Pods split open, releasing innumerable downy seeds that are easily carried miles by wind.

Habitat

This plant will thrive in a wide range of soil, moisture, and light conditions and is found in many habitats, including woodlands, fields, and roadsides.

Threat

Swallow-wort vines choke out large areas of favorable species and can interfere with forest regeneration. Toxic chemicals in the plant make it poor forage for deer and other wildlife.

NYS Threat Ranking Assessment Score = Very High, 89.69 (black) & 87.63 (pale)

Management

Individual plants or small infestations can be dug out by hand. When this plant is cut, it resprouts vigorously, making control difficult, and warranting the careful use of herbicide for larger infestations.

Distribution: View Map