Honeyvine milkweed Cynanchum laeve
IDENTIFICATION — From early summer to fall, if you peek under the heart-shaped leaves of this vine, you’ll find clusters of tiny white flowers. Often the vine is mistaken for morning glory or bindweed, but the insignificant flowers are the easiest way to tell the difference.
Once you spot the distinctive 3- to 6-in.-long seed pods in late summer, you’ll know this is a member of the milkweed family. And like a common milkweed, the pod splits open in fall to release lots of brown seeds with long silky white hairs. Once open, that tuft of hair helps the seed drift on the wind.
FAVORITE CONDITIONS — Found over much of the eastern two-thirds of North America, honeyvine milkweed grows lush in full sun and fertile, moist soil. Usually you’ll spot this pest winding its way up into shrubs, tall perennials or fences. However, it can also spread across the ground or even drape over a wall. You’ll find it grows in both cultivated and undisturbed areas.
CONTROL — This perennial spreads by seeds and underground rhizomes. Keep stems cut short to prevent seeds from forming. If you spot hanging pods in late summer, pick them and send them away in the trash.
When you try to pull or dig these vines, you’ll find a deep taproot with many side shoots. The roots are also brittle and break easily. Any pieces left behind in the soil will grow a new vine. The best control is a systemic herbicide, such as Roundup®, that will kill roots and all.