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Invasive Vine Threatens Native Habitats

Volunteers joined forces with museum workers at Garvies Point Museum and Preserve in Glen Cove on Saturday, June 15, to wage war against a relatively new invasive vine that spreads rapidly and then quickly chokes out native wild flowers and other plants that local wildlife depend on.

Mile-a-Minute (persicaira perfoliata) is so named due to its extremely rapid rate of growth.

“A single vine can grow to a length of 20-25 feet by the end of the summer,” said Kathryne Natale, president of the Friends of Garvies.  Natale further explained that Mile-a-Minute is not native to North America at all and was first discovered in our area at Garvies Point Preserve by a museum worker less than 10 years ago.  Since then, Mile-a-Minute has been spotted at various locations along Hempstead Harbor, including Cedarmere in Roslyn Harbor, The Sands Point Preserve and several private residences.

Jennifer Wilson-Pines, invasive weed expert and co-president of the North Shore Chapter of the Audubon Society, which has “adopted” Garvies Preserve, was on hand to explain how to identify the vine and how to remove it.  “Mile-a-Minute is a pretty vine of Asian origin and most likely an escaped ornamental,” said Wilson-Pines. “It has distinctive triangular leaves and produces blue berries in August.”  

Mile-a-Minute grows along borders in open areas and meadows. “It is important to remove it before it sets seed,” continued Wilson-Pines.  The berries can be carried by birds, wind and even water.  The vines should be pulled out from their roots.  Wilson-Pines cautioned anyone pulling out this vine to wear gloves. The vine is covered in tiny thorns, earning it the nickname “Devil’s Tear-Thumb!”