Tropaeolum speciosum

Chilean flame creeper

Family: Tropaeolaceae

Origin: Chile

Large bush of Chilean flame creeper.
Chilean flame creeper climbs into canopy, smothering native vegetation.
Photo credit: Department of Conservation, Te Papa Atawhai

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • National Pest Plant Accord Species
  • Whole region — Sustained control

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Perennial deciduous climber. Leaves are five-fingered, with leaflets < 35 x 16 mm. Flowers are tubular, red/pink, < 15 mm in diameter and borne in November – April. Berries are blue/black, < 1 cm in diameter and ripen December – March.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • you must not breed, distribute, release or sell Chilean flame creeper - As Chilean flame creeper is a National Pest Plant Accord species, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand
  • you must not plant Chilean flame creeper within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property
  • you must destroy any Chilean flame creeper on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.

Habitats

Forest, scrub, disturbed sites, canopy gaps.

Dispersal

Seeds dispersed by birds. Vegetative spread from root fragments. Human-mediated dispersal through dumping of garden waste and deliberate planting.

Impact on environment

Smothers and suppresses native vegetation growth in forest and scrub ecosystems.

Control

Site management

Cut and pull vines away from desirable trees and native plants before foliar spraying. Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Cut vines and leave upper stems to die in trees or dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: All parts (except vines if left to die in trees).

Disposal options: Compost in a composting weed bag or remove to greenwaste or landfill.

Biocontrol

Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications: For small infestations, cut stump and paste freshly cut base of stems with double strength glyphosate gel or cut stump and spray freshly cut base with 200ml glyphosate green per 1L of water.

Basic Growsafe certified: For small infestations, cut vines at waist height and foliar spray vines on the ground with 200ml glyphosate green per 10L of water.

Certified Handler / experienced agrichemical user: For medium to large infestations, cut vines at waist height and foliar spray vines on the ground with 200ml glyphosate green per 10L of water and 20ml penetrant.

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

Close up of Chilean flame creeper flowers.
Tubular red/pink flowers with five irregular petals.
Photo credit: Department of Conservation, Te Papa Atawhai
Chilean flame creeper in a mess of branches.
The light green leaves have five leaflets.
Photo credit: Department of Conservation, Te Papa Atawhai