Alternative common names:
Piesangdilla (Afrikaans) and Bananadilla.
Banana poka is a vigorous, scrambling, smothering plant that climbs up to 10 m high by means of its tendrils. It can smother trees, reducing native biodiversity and its fruit can encourage pest animals such as rats. Declared weed, prohibited and must be controlled in South Africa.
Where does this species come from?Brazil and Columbia
What is its invasive status in South Africa?NEMBA Category 1b.
Where in South Africa is it a problem?Western Cape and Mpumalanga
How does it spread?The plant is spread by seed (birds, rats and possums eating the fruit) and also from stem fragments which revegetate readily
Why is it a problem?
It can overpower trees, reducing native biodiversity and its fruit can encourage pest animals such as rats.
What does it look like?
Leaves: Deeply three-lobed, sharply serrated, dark green and downy above.
Flowers:Sepals white inside, petals pale pink, corona reduced to a short, purple rim, floral tube elongated 60-120 mm long.
Fruit/seeds: Thin skinned oval fruit, green, turning yellow or orange-yellow when ripe.
Does the plant have any uses?
Ornament and edible fruits.