Delairea odorata (Cape ivy)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Biology and Ecology
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Plant Trade
- Impact Summary
- Environmental Impact
- Impact: Biodiversity
- Threatened Species
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Delairea odorata Lemaire
Preferred Common Name
- Cape ivy
Other Scientific Names
- Senecio mikanioides Harvey
- Senecio mikanioides Harvey ex Otto
- Senecio mikanioides Otto ex Walp.
Local Common Names
- Australia: ivy groundsel
- Germany: Greiskraut, Efeu-
- New Zealand: German ivy
- USA: German ivy; parlor ivy
- USA/Hawaii: Italian ivy
- SENMI (Senecio mikanioides)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Asterales
- Family: Asteraceae
- Genus: Delairea
- Species: Delairea odorata
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
Two common names are frequently used. In North America and Hawaii, it is commercially available as 'German ivy', and this is the name used in much older literature in the USA. It is called 'Cape ivy' in Australia, and this has now become the preferred common name in North America. It is still called 'German ivy' in New Zealand, where the name 'Cape ivy' is applied to Senecio angulatus (Webb et al., 1988).
DescriptionTop of page
Plant TypeTop of page
Vine / climber
DistributionTop of page
Interestingly, in its native home of South Africa, D. odorata is uncommon, and lacks a common name. It is now widespread in Australia, being found in all states and territories and is probably most invasive in Victoria (Blood 2001). It is widespread on both the North and South islands of New Zealand (Webb et al., 1988). In North America, it is found along 2000 km of coast of California and southern Oregon (Robison et al., 2000; Balciunas et al., 2004). In Hawaii, the largest and most significant problem is on the large island of Hawaii (Jacobi and Warschauer, 1992). Hilliard (1977) noted its presence in Saint Helena, and around Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is widely distributed in the Mediterranean and temperate biome of Chile (Rodríguez et al., 2018).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 30 Jun 2021
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|South Africa||Present, Localized||Native|
|United Kingdom||Present, Localized||Introduced||Invasive|
|United States||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-New South Wales||Present, Localized||Introduced||Invasive|
|-Northern Territory||Present, Localized||Introduced||Invasive|
|-South Australia||Present, Localized||Introduced||Invasive|
|-Western Australia||Present, Localized||Introduced|
|New Zealand||Present, Widespread||Introduced||1870||Invasive|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
HabitatTop of page
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial||Managed||Managed forests, plantations and orchards||Present, no further details|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Managed forests, plantations and orchards||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Managed grasslands (grazing systems)||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Disturbed areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Rail / roadsides||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Urban / peri-urban areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Natural forests||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Natural grasslands||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Riverbanks||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Wetlands||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Littoral||Coastal areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
Biology and EcologyTop of page
D. odorata is unusual in that it flowers in mid-winter. In the Southern hemisphere, D. odorata flowers between May and August. In California, USA, flowering usually begins in October, peaks in December or January, and is finished by the end of March. In late summer and early autumn, most stems, but not necessarily all, senesce and die back. At about the same time, new shoots begin growing from the persistent rootstock, and these new shoots frequently use the old, dried vines as a trellis to allow them to quickly ascend into and over shrubs and trees.
D. odorata is presumed to be insect pollinated, and this winter-flowering vine is visited by an large array of insects although the principal pollinators have not been documented. The vast majority of seeds produced by D. odorata in North America and perhaps elsewhere are not viable, possibly indicating the lack of effective pollinators. In California, it was previously thought that no viable seeds were produced, but viable seeds have now been discovered (Balciunas, 2001b; Robison, 2001). Hilliard (1977) considers that the cold temperatures present in southern England prevent it from flowering in the open there, noting that it does flower in the warmer Isles of Scilly. D. odorata, however, reproduces very readily from fragments of stem, stolons, or rhizomes as small as 2.5 cm, as long as it includes a node (DiTomaso and Healy, 2004).
Germination requirements of D. odorata seeds are not fully known, but optimal temperatures appear to be 21-26°C (DiTomaso and Healy, 2004). Likewise, other environmental requirements have not been fully investigated, but it demonstrates considerable ecological amplitude. It prefers partial shade, but can tolerate deep shade, and in more moist areas, will thrive in full sun. It is found at elevations above 1500 m in South Africa and Hawaii (Balciunas et al., 2004), but is frost tender. It is occasionally found in arid areas with less than 100 mm annual rainfall, but supplemental moisture is suspected to be present.
In its native range, D. odorata is usually found at edges of native hardwood forests but not in plantations of introduced Eucalyptus or Pinus spp. In its introduced range, D. odorata exploits a wide variety of habitats and occurs in association with hundreds of different plants.
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
New infestations of D. odorata are probably primarily the result of dispersal of plant fragments being moved by wind and rain, or floating down streams. Although viable seeds are not common, they are light and attached to silken pappus hairs, making it likely that they are responsible for longer distance dispersion by wind to new sites.
Vector Transmission (Biotic)
Careless disposal of garden waste has led to many waste sites and dumping grounds, both legal and illegal, becoming heavily infested with D. odorata.
Because of its similar appearance to 'true' ivy's, this vine may sometimes be planted unintentionally.
Since D. odorata is not a declared noxious weed in most countries (including USA and Canada) there is little legal restraint to prevent it being carried or shipped across most international borders. It has been and is still widely available from seed mail order companies and via commercial websites as an ornamental species, and most if not all introductions to date have been intentionally as an ornamental species.
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility of pest or symptoms|
|Fruits (inc. pods)||seeds|
|Growing medium accompanying plants||seeds|
|Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches||stems|
|True seeds (inc. grain)||seeds|
|Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport|
Impact SummaryTop of page
|Fisheries / aquaculture||Negative|
ImpactTop of page
Environmental ImpactTop of page
Impact: BiodiversityTop of page
Threatened SpeciesTop of page
|Threatened Species||Conservation Status||Where Threatened||Mechanism||References||Notes|
|Thysanocarpus conchuliferus (Santa Cruz Island fringepod)||USA ESA listing as endangered species||California||Competition - monopolizing resources||US Fish and Wildlife Service (2009b)|
|Zanthoxylum dipetalum var. tomentosum||CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species||Hawaii||Competition - monopolizing resources; Competition - smothering; Ecosystem change / habitat alteration||US Fish and Wildlife Service (2009a)|
Social ImpactTop of page
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
- Highly mobile locally
- Has high reproductive potential
- Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
- Damaged ecosystem services
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Negatively impacts animal health
- Negatively impacts tourism
- Reduced amenity values
- Reduced native biodiversity
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Competition - smothering
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
- Difficult/costly to control
UsesTop of page
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.Cultural Control
Control of D. odorata with fire or grazing animals has not been reported, although using goats might be feasible. However, D. odorata contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which are known to be potent mammalian hepato-toxins.
Although very labour intensive, hand-pulling of D. odorata is usually the preferred control method. To prevent new infestations in other areas, the plant material that has been removed must be disposed of carefully.
Clopyralid has been used successfully in Australia (Fagg, 1989). In California, glyphosate alone provided only very temporary control (Bossard and Benefield, 1995), but when a mixture of glyphosate + triclopyr + silicone surfactant in water was used, it provided successful control after two applications (Bossard, 2000). Damage to non-target vegetation is likely, and care should be taken to minimize this.
There are no approved biological control agents available to manage D. odorata. However, in the United States, a project to develop such agents was launched by USDA-ARS in 1998 (Balciunas and Archbald, 1999). Surveys were conducted in South Africa for natural enemies of this vine and during two years research, several hundred insects attacking D. odorata were identified (Grobbelaar et al., 2003). Two of these insect species, the Cape ivy gall fly (Parafreutreta regalis Munro) and the Cape ivy stem moth (Digitivalva delaireae Gaedike & Kruger) are currently being evaluated at the USDA-ARS quarantine facility in Albany, California and at a facility in Pretoria, South Africa to determine if they are safe enough to release in North America (Balciunas, 2001a).
Whatever control method is used, careful monitoring and removal of any resprouts and seedlings is essential, or within a matter of months the treated area will become indistinguishable from adjacent untreated areas.
ReferencesTop of page
Alvarez ME, 1998. Management of Cape-ivy (Delairea odorata) in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. In: Kelly M, Wagner E, Warner P, eds. Proceedings of the California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium Vol. 3, Concord, California, 91-95
Alvarez ME, 1999. Community level consequences of a biological invasion: effects of a non-native vine on three plant communities. MA Thesis. Sonoma State University, California, USA
Arnold TH, de Wet BC, 1993. Plants of southern Africa: names and distribution. Memoirs of the Botanical Survey of South Africa, No. 62. Pretoria, Republic of South Africa: Botanical Research Institute
ASPCA, 2003. Poisonous Plants. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, USA. http://www.aspca.org
Balciunas J, 2001. Biological control of Cape ivy project reaches milestone. CalEPPC News, 9:3-4
Balciunas J, 2001. Viable seed production by Cape ivy in California finally confirmed. CalEPPC News, 9:13
Balciunas J, Archbald G, 1999. Cape ivy biological control. Noxious Times, 2:8-9
Balciunas J, Grobbelaar E, Robison R, Neser S, 2004. Distribution of Cape ivy (Delairea odorata Lem.), a growing threat to western riparian ecosystems. Weed Technology (in press)
Barkley TM, 1993. Senecio: groundsel, ragwort, butterweed. In: Hickman JC, ed. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California. Berkeley, USA: University of California Press, 336-342
Blood, K, 2001. Delairea odorata. In: Glen Osmond. Environmental Weeds: a field guide for SE Australia. South Africa: Cooperative Research Centre for Weed Management Systems, 104-105
Bossard C, Benefield C, 1995. The war on German ivy: good news from the front. In: Proceedings of the Symposium. Sacramento: California Exotic Pest Plant Council, 1-2
Bossard CC, 2000. Delairea odorata. In: Bossard C, Randall J, Hoshovsky M, eds. Invasive plants of California's wildlands. Berkeley, USA: University of California Press, 154-158
CalEPPC, 1994. Exotic Pest Plants of Greatest Ecological Concern in California. California Exotic Plant Pest Council, USA
CalEPPC, 1996. The CalEPPC List: Exotic Pest Plants of Greatest Ecological Concern in California as of August 1996. California Exotic Plant Pest Council, USA
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CCCF, 2003. Toxic Plant List. Canadian Child Care Federation, Canada. http://www.cfc-efc.ca/docs/cccf/rs029_en.htm
CDFA, 2003. The List of California's Noxious Weeds. California Department of Food and Agriculture, USA. http://pi.cdfa.ca.gov/weedinfo/Index.html
DiTomaso JM, Healy EA, 2004. Weeds of California and other Western States. Division of Natural Resources, University of California (in press)
EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. http://www.eppo.int/DATABASES/pqr/pqr.htm
Fagg PC, 1989. Control of Delairea odorata (Cape ivy) in native forest with the herbicide clopyralid. Plant Protection Quarterly, 4:107-110
Grobbelaar E, Balciunas JK, Neser O, Neser S, 2003. South African insects for biological control of Delairea odorata. In Kelly M, ed. Proceedings of the California Exotic Pest Council Symposiums, Volume 6,: 2000, 2001, 2002, 16-28. Concord, California, USA
Harvey WH, 1865. Compositae Juss. In: Harvey WH, Sonder OW, eds. Flora Capensis: being a systematic description of the plants of the Cape Colony, Caffraria, & Port Natal. Vol. III. Rubiaceae to Campanulaceae. London, UK: Lovell Reeve & Co. Ltd, 44-530
Haselwood EL, Motter GG, eds, 1983. Handbook of Hawaiian weeds, edition 2. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: University of Hawaii Press
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Hnatiuk RJ, 1990. Census of Australian Vascular Plants. Australian Flora and Fauna Series Number 11. Canberra, Australia: Australian Government Publishing Service
Jacobi JD, Warschauer FR, 1992. Distribution of six alien plant species in upland habitats on the island of Hawaii. In: Stone CP, Smith CW, Tunison JT, eds. Alien Plant Invasions in Native Ecosystems of Hawai'i: Management and Research. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: University of Hawaii Cooperative National Park Resources Studies Unit, 155-188
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Lemaire C, 1844. Delairea, ad synantheras genus novum spectans. In: Milne-Edwards M, Brongniart MMAD, Decaisne J. Annales des Sciences Naturelles. Paris, France: Fortin, Masson et Cie), Libraires-Éditeurs, 379-381
Munz PA, 1959. A California flora. Berkeley, USA: University of California Press
Owen SJ, 1996. Ecological weeds on conservation land in New Zealand: A database. Department of Conservation, Wellington, New Zealand: DOC Science Publications. http://www.hear.org/weedlists/other_areas/nz/nzecoweeds.htm
Robison R, Grotkopp E, Yacoub R, 2000. Cape ivy (Delairea odorata) distribution in California and Oregon. In: Kelly M, Howe M, Niell B, eds. Proceedings of the California Exotic Pest Plant Council Symposium, Vol. 5, Sacramento, California, 82-84
Robison, R, 2001. Cape ivy germinating in California and Oregon. CalEPPC News, 9:8-9
Rodríguez R, Marticorena C, Alarcón D, Baeza C, Lohengrin C, Finot VL, Fuentes N, Kiessling A, Mihoc M, Pauchard A, Ruíz E, Sanchez P, Marticorena A, 2018. Catalogue of the vascular plants of Chile. (Catálogo de las plantas vasculares de Chile). Gayana Botánica, 75(1), 430 pp.
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Stelljes ME, Kelley RB, Molyneux RJ, Seiber JN, 1991. GC-MS determination of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in four Senecio species. Journal of Natural Products, 54(3):759-773
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Arnold TH, de Wet BC, 1993. Plants of southern Africa: names and distribution. In: Memoirs of the Botanical Survey of South Africa, No. 62, Pretoria, South Africa:
Balciunas J, Grobbelaar E, Robison R, Neser S, 2004. Distribution of Cape ivy (Delairea odorata Lem.), a growing threat to western riparian ecosystems.,
Barkley TM, 1993. Senecio: groundsel, ragwort, butterweed. In: The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California, [ed. by Hickman JC]. Berkeley, USA: University of California Press. 336-342.
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Hilliard OM, 1977. Compositae in Natal., Pietermaritzburg, South Africa: University of Natal Press.
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Owen S J, 1996. Ecological weeds on conservation land in New Zealand: a database. In: Ecological weeds on conservation land in New Zealand: a database, Department of Conservation, Wellington, New Zealand: DOC Science Publications. http://www.hear.org/weedlists/other_areas/nz/nzecoweeds.htm
Rodríguez R, Marticorena C, Alarcón D, Baeza C, Lohengrin C, Finot VL, Fuentes N, Kiessling A, Mihoc M, Pauchard A, Ruíz E, Sanchez P, Marticorena A, 2018. Catalogue of the vascular plants of Chile. (Catálogo de las plantas vasculares de Chile). In: Gayana Botánica, 75 (1) 430 pp.
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2003. Flora Europaea, Database of European Plants (ESFEDS)., Edinburgh, UK: Royal Botanic Garden. http://rbg-web2.rbge.org.uk/FE/fe.html
UCJeps, 2003. SMASCH Project: Specimen Management System for California Herbaria., California, USA: University and Jepson Herbaria. http://www.mip.berkeley.edu/www_apps/smasch/
Wagner WL, Herbst DR, Sohmer SH, 1990. Manual of Flowering Plants of Hawaii. In: Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum Special Publication 83, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: University of Hawaii.
Webb C J, Sykes W R, Garnock-Jones P J, 1988. Flora of New Zealand Volume IV: Naturalized Pteridophytes, Gymnosperms, Dicotyledons. Christchurch, New Zealand: Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. 1365 pp.
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Distribution MapsTop of page
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