Old man's beard
|Botanical Name||Clematis vitalba|
|Origin||Europe, S W Asia|
DescriptionAlso known as traveller's joy. Deciduous, climber with woody stems, climbing to canopy height. Leaves 50-150 mm long, 5 leaflets (1 or 3 leaflets in seedlings), arranged either side of an axis. Flowers four petalled, dull white, borne in panicles, 50 mm to 120 mm long. Seed vessels form grey tufted balls conspicuous in autumn, winter and early spring. Often confused with the native species which has only 3 leaflets.
Where is it found?Shrub, wasteland, among willows, forest remnants, hedgerows, canopy light gaps, roadsides, gardens.
Why is it a problem?At risk are secondary growth or disturbed native forest. Old man's beard climbs high into the canopy smothering and eventually blocking sunlight and killing the host tree.
How does it spread?Seed, wind and water dispersed. Vegetative growth. Can sprout from stem pieces. Spreads from gardens.
How do I get rid of it?
Cut and treat every plant found. Immediate action is important.
Control 1. Cut vines as close to the ground as possible and treat stump liberally with 1 part Grazon (Triclopyr) to 20 parts of water or 1 part Glyphosate to 4 parts water. Leave aerial vine in the tree to dry out (this will prevent host tree damage).
Control 2. Take care not to damage support plant and surrounding vegetation.
Control 3. Dig out all seedlings.
Control 4. Repeat steps above each year until regrowth checked. New seedlings will be growing each year, so perseverance is necessary.
Control 5. Replant area cleared. This step is important. The cleared area will be susceptible to invasion by other weeds.
The differences between old man's beard and native clematis:
|Old Man's Beard||Native Clematis|
|Five leaflets||Three leaflets|
|Flowers in summer||Flowers in spring|