Cardiospermum grandiflorum and C. halicacabum

Balloon vine / small balloon vine

Also known as:

Love in a puff

Family: Sapindaceae

Origin: North & Central America

A hand holding a stalk of balloon vine.
Balloon vine is a canopy climber and can climb up into trees or spread at ground level.
Photo credit: Forest and Kim Starr

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Whole region — Eradication
  • National Pest Plant Accord Species

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Woody perennial or annual climbing vines < 10 m tall. Stems are ribbed and covered in yellow bristly hairs. Leaves are < 16 cm long and coarsely toothed. Flowers are white/yellow, fragrant and borne in clusters with hairy flower stalks. Seed pods are inflated, membranous, papery and light green, drying to pale brown in autumn.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell balloon vine or small balloon vine. As balloon vine and small balloon vine are National Pest Plant Accord species, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand.
  • You must not plant balloon vine or small balloon vine within the Auckland region.

Auckland Council will control balloon vine and small balloon vine at all sites where they are known to occur.

If you see balloon vine or small balloon vine anywhere in the Auckland region, please report it to Auckland Council


Riparian and forest margins, wetlands, disturbed forest, roadsides, wasteland.


Seeds dispersed by wind and water. Vegetative spread from suckering and root fragments. Human-mediated dispersal through dumping of garden waste, movement of contaminated soil and deliberate planting.

Impact on environment

Aggressively smothers native vegetation in wetlands, forest and riparian margins. Can cause canopy collapse.


Recommended approaches

Do not attempt to undertake control of this species. Please report to Auckland Council.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

A ballon vine seed pod.
The ‘balloons’ are seed pods containing three round black seeds.
Photo credit: Joseph Marcus, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Photo showing the flowers, leaves and 'balloons'.
Flowers are white/yellow, fragrant and borne in clusters with hairy flower stalks.
Photo credit: