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Photo Credit: Forest & Kim Starr

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Photo Credit: Forest & Kim Starr

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Photo Credit: Forest & Kim Starr

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QUICK FACTS

  • HPRWA SCORE 28
  • FAMILY Asclepidaceae
  • CATEGORY Shrubs, Vines, & Others

rubbervine (Cryptostegia grandiflora, Cryptostegia madagascariensis)

An ornamental shrub that will aggressively grow over other plants. The Division of Forestry and Wildlife of the Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources has designated these species as one of Hawai`i's Most Invasive Horticultural Plants. All species in the genus are discouraged from planting.

  • Woody shrubs 6-9 ft tall if self supported, but will climb up to 30 ft high
  • Shiny, dark green leaves 3 in long
  • Flower petals join in a funnel at the base and are white, pink, or purple; triangular seedpods (4 - 6 in long) grow in wing-like pairs
  • Present in landscaped areas on Kaua`i, O`ahu, and Big Island, larger infestations on Maui and Moloka`i; native to Madagascar
  • Each seedpod contains 380-840 seeds, silky hairs on the seeds allow them to spread by wind and water; seeds are also known to float and survive for a month in salt water and still be viable

Harm

  • Aggressively grows with scrambling branches and dominates disturbed forests and woodland communities
  • Climbs tightly around other plants restricting their growth
  • Extremely poisonous: it contains cardiac glycosides, which can interfere with heart operations in humans and animals when eaten
  • Dry dust from this plant can cause violent coughing, swelling of the nose, and blistering of the eyelids
  • Contact with the plant's milky sap can cause burning rashes and blisters

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