Madagascar Rubber Vine: is known botanically as Cryptostegia grandiflora. The common name indicates that this is not an Australian native plant. That is why the species has been included in our Environment section. It is a weed of national significance and has detrimental effects on the environment.
Cryptostegia grandiflora is a versatile plant. It may grow as a vigorous climber or as an untidy, medium shrub. The leaves, stems and unripe pods exude milky latex when broken. It is thought that the latex may have had potential for rubber production.
The flowers are large and attractive. They have five petals and range in colour from white to light purple. Flowering is sporadic throughout the year except in June and July.
Seedpods are 10-12 centimetres in length and may hold up to 450 brown seeds that have a tuft of white silky hairs. Seeds are dispersed by wind or water.
Cryptostegia grandiflora was introduced in 1875 as an ornamental plant. The species has now infested the river systems of southern Cape York and the Gulf of Carpentaria in Queensland. Other areas of Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia have isolated infestations.
Some of the impacts of the Rubber Vine are: crowds out native flora, provides shelter for feral pests and restricts stock access, to name a few. The species also colonizes areas rapidly.
This information was gleaned from a Pest Fact File issued by the Queensland Government.
The photograph was taken at Karumba, on the Gulf of Carpentaria, on our visit in July 2004.
Please do not propagate this noxious and obnoxious weed.