Mikania micrantha (mile-a-minute)
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 17:18
Taxonomy
Scientific name
Mikania micrantha Kunth ex H.B.K.
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteracea
Tribe: Eupatorieae
Genus: Mikania

Common names:
· mile-a-minute, Chinese creeper, climbing hempvine, bittervine (English)
· liane americaine (French)
· wa bosucu, ovaova (Fijian)
· titaiya baur(Hindi)
· fue saina (Samoan)
· tabdillo (Spanish)

Weed Status
Mikania has been consistently ranked amongst the top three worst weeds by member countries of the SPC.  For details on these weed rankings please click here.
In Australia mikania has been declared a Class 1 weed in Queensland under the Rural Lands Protection Act.
Mikania has also been included in the ISSG's List of 100 of the World's Worst Alien Invasive Species.  To view this documentclick here.

Medicinal Properties
Albert C. Smith in his Flora Vitiensis Nova (1991) notes that "the macerated plant is used to apply to new wounds, insect stings and other skin irritations, and the leaves after being boiled in saltwater and cooled are applied to the skin to relieve itching" (p298).
Recent biochemical research has shown that
it has antimicrobial (germ killing) properties.

Allelopathic Properties
Mikania has also been shown to have allelopathic properties i.e. release chemicals that can inhibit the growth of plants.  Recent studies have isolated these allelopathic chemicals and demonstrated their growth-inhibition properties on young seedlings. Mikania debris incorporated into soil was also shown to inhibit germination and seedling growth in some crops.

Description
The leaves are opposite to one another and heart-shaped, 4-13cm in length and 2-9cm in width.  The petiole of each leaf is 2-8cm long.  Both surfaces of the leaf are glabrous (hairless).
The flowers are found in flowerheads (4 flowers per head) and are white.
References
Smith, A. C. 1991. Flora Vitiensis nova: A new flora of Fiji Volume 5.  National Tropical Botanical Garden.