Invasive, Exotic Plants of the Southeast
Sweet Autumn Virginsbower
Common Name: Sweet Autumn Virginsbower
Scientific Name: Clematis terniflora
Identification: Sweet Autumn Virginsbower is a perennial sprawling woody vine that may climb to 15 to 30 feet. The leaves are pinnately compound and elliptical. The stem is stout and may be lime green, light gray, or reddish. Fragrant, small, white flowers appear in late summer and early fall. Dangling capsules, containing one seed, mature from September to November.
Ecology: Sweet Autumn Virginsbower is an invasive vine that colonizes disturbed areas, fencerows, and roadsides. This invasive vine colonizes by seeds that are spread by birds, small mammals, and water.
Plant Control: Unless it is a large infestation, vines in the home landscape (on fences or arbors) can be cut back to ground level in late summer and the cut ends treated with undiluted glyphosate concentrate (53.8% preferable but 41% okay). If a thicket is present, cut all stems back to the ground with a weed-eater with a blade attachment, if possible. Allow the cut stems to re-sprout, then spot-spray the sprouts with a 5% solution of glyphosate with surfactant. If mechanical vine control prior to herbicide application is impractical, you can spray the stand with a 5% glyphosate and surfactant solution in late summer, but note that non-target plants may be at higher risk with this method. Increase solution strength if necessary and re-treat as needed for complete control.
Alternative Native Species: Greenbrier (Smilax spp.), Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens), Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata), Climbing Hydrangea (Decumaria barbara)
When using herbicides remember to follow label-recommendations. Any mention of trade, products, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by North Carolina State University.
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