I took this picture last week to show the devastation caused by an errant choko vine, this one looks like it was planted intentionally some time ago and has gotten completely out of control. It has now completely covered several bushes and is wrapping it’s way around this magnificent tree in the corner of the garden.
Because it’s strangling everything in it’s path it has to go! In New Zealand the close relative of the choko vine, known as the kapok vine, mothweed, milk vine, or wild choko vine has naturalised and is spreading, especially in warmer parts of the country, this is not great news for our native trees. This South American vine is similar to the choko but has smaller leaves and little pink flowers. The pods are similar but you can’t eat them, they’re toxic.
Picture of wild choko from Weedbusters.org.nz
Here’s how to get rid of it, this excerpt is from the book ‘Recipes For A Cleaner Life’ Available in our online store for $34.95
“Flowering from December to May, the mass of waxy white flowers sometime tinged with pink, are plentiful and will trap moths, butterflies and bees. But the problem for New Zealand, especially in the north, is its ability to grow to the tops of forest canopies where it forms huge, heavy, long-lived masses, with wind-borne seed travelling long distances.
The choko-like seed pod which appears after flowering is easy to spot and people are encouraged to pull off the pods and bury them or soak them in a drum with water until the seeds have rotted. Then remove the vine by cutting it off 3cm under the ground with a good sharp knife. Follow up by pulling out seedlings and again cutting off 3cm under the ground.”
Other invasive vines in New Zealand as classified by doc are: Ivy, old man’s beard, Japanese honeysuckle, climbing spindleberry, and banana passionfruit. All need to be disposed of. For more information check out doc’s article on identifying weeds here.