Bridal creeper entered the country as a garden plant as far back as 1857 and is now a major weed of bushland in southern Australia. Its climbing stems and foliage smother native plants and the thick mat of underground tubers impedes the root growth of other plants and often prevents seedling establishment. This species is currently restricted to relatively small infestations within the Otways but with its potential spread and invasive ability it is vital that we control it now.
Bridal creeper has annual creeper growth from a perennial root system consisting of many underground tubers (food storage organs). The underground mat of rhizomes and tubers makes up the bulk of the plant and provide water, energy and nutrients that enable the plant to survive over summer and allow rapid shoot growth in autumn. Numerous shoots are produced from one patch of roots and entwine with each other and the native vegetation, making it almost impossible to identify individual plants. Bridal creeper produces pea-sized green berries which ripen to red and usually contain two or three black seeds
Bridal creeper plants can produce more than 1000 berries per square metre! Birds feed on the berries and later excrete the seeds at perch sites, usually within 100 m of source plants. Rabbits and foxes also eat fruit and disperse seeds. Dumping of garden rubbish containing bridal creeper seeds or roots also spreads the weed. Very little ungerminated seed remains viable in the soil after one year and none after two years.
Isolated plants or small infestations can be dug out in spring or autumn when the ground is soft. Care must be taken to remove the whole of the tuberous root system, otherwise regeneration is likely to occur. For medium to larger infestations herbicide is the most effective method of control. As Bridal Creeper often grows in areas of native vegetation care must be taken to reduce off target damage to native plants. Above ground stems can be handpulled or slashed to prevent flowering and seeding however this will not eradicate an infestation.
Three Biological controls have been trialed and released in Australia, the bridal creeper leafhopper (Zygina sp.), rust fungus (Puccinia myrsiphylli ) and leaf beetle (Crioceris sp.). These control agents are having an impact on Bridal Creeper, however due to the plants huge reserves stored in tubers active control is still required in the majority of cases.
More information on: Bridal Creeper Leafhopper | Bridal Creeper rust fungus | Bridal creeper leaf beetle
Weeds of National Significance websiteCSIRO websiteVictorian Department of Primary Industries
Bridal creeper plants can produce more than 1000 berries per square metre! Birds feed on the berries and later excrete the seeds at perch sites, usually within 100 m of source plants.