Madagascar rubber vine
Common name:Madagascar rubber vine
Scientific name:Cryptostegia madagascariensis
Alternative common names:
Woody vine with milky sap, its stems are greyish-brown and have a whitish warty spots. The leaves are 2-11cm long and leathery, greenish in colour. Pink or purple tubular flowers (30-40mm long) with five petals. It produces pods, 50-90mm long which contains numerous seeds.
Where does this species come from?North-western Madagascar and invasive in Hawaii and Australia.
What is its invasive status in South Africa?NEMBA Category 1b
Where in South Africa is it a problem?Limpopo and North West Provinces.
How does it spread?Seeds dispersed in the wind and movement of floodwater and mud.
Why is it a problem?Able to climb and cover trees. The milky sap is extremely poisonous to livestock and humans. It contains cardiac glycosides which have a negative impact on the heart. The powdery dust from dry plants can cause severe coughing, swelling of the nose and blistering of the eyelids.
What does it look like?Leaves:Thick, glossy and dark green in colour. Flower: Bell shape, five petaled flowers are pink to light purple in colour. Fruit/seeds:Seed pods are 50-90mm long, oval and filled with many feathery white seeds.
Does the plant have any uses?Planted as a garden ornamental due to its attractive pink flowers.