- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Air Temperature
- Soil Tolerances
- Water Tolerances
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Impact Summary
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Threatened Species
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Mikania scandens (L.) Willd.
International Common Names
- English: climbing hemp weed (USA); louse-plaster
- French: liane margoze
- Portuguese: guaco-do-jardim; guaco-do-quintal
- MIKSC (Mikania scandens)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Asterales
- Family: Asteraceae
- Genus: Mikania
- Species: Mikania scandens
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
DescriptionTop of page
Herbaceous, perennial vine; branching stem obscurely 6-angled to terate, ranging from glabrous to densely pilose; 8-15 cm internodes. Petioles glabrous or puberulent, 20-50 mm. Triangular to triangular-ovate leaf blades, 3-15 x 2-11 cm with cordate to hastate bases; margins subentire to undulate, crenate, or dentate, apices acuminate (tips often caudate), faces puberulent. Produces dense corymbiform flowers, with small heads 5-7 mm long. Corollas generally pinkish to purplish, occasionally white, 3-5.4 mm, dotted sparsely with glands, lobes triangular to deltate. Cypselae dark brown to blackish, 1.8-2.2 mm, also dotted with glands; pappi of 30-37 white or pinkish to purplish bristles 4-4.5 mm. Fruits are oblong 1-.5-2.5 mm long, brownish black, five angled resinous achenes; Chromosome number 2n=38 (Holm et al., 1991; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2013).
Plant TypeTop of page Broadleaved
Vine / climber
DistributionTop of page
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.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Bangladesh||Absent, unreliable record||Introduced||Invasive||Ghani, 2003; Uddin et al., 2013|
|Chagos Archipelago||Absent, unreliable record||Introduced||Invasive||Whistler, 1996|
|India||Absent, unreliable record||Introduced||Invasive||Singh et al., 1990|
|Indonesia||Absent, unreliable record||Introduced||Invasive|
|-Sumatra||Absent, unreliable record||Native||Invasive||Pratiwi, 1989|
|Malaysia||Absent, unreliable record||Introduced||Not invasive||Matsubayashi et al., 2007|
|Philippines||Absent, unreliable record||Introduced||Invasive||Merrill, 1923|
|Sri Lanka||Absent, unreliable record||Introduced||Invasive||Piyasena and Dharmaratne, 2013|
|Madagascar||Absent, unreliable record||Introduced||Invasive||Novy, 1997|
|Malawi||Absent, unreliable record||Introduced||Invasive||Whittle, 1996|
|Mauritius||Absent, invalid record||Introduced||Invasive|
|-Ontario||Absent, unreliable record||Not invasive||Brouillet et al., 2006||Original record was retracted from the Flora of Canada (Scoggan, 1979 and no subsequent records are available)|
|Mexico||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-ARS, 2013|
|USA||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Alabama||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Arkansas||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Connecticut||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Delaware||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-District of Columbia||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Florida||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Georgia||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Illinois||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Indiana||Localised||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013||Extirpated (Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2013)|
|-Kentucky||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Louisiana||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Maine||Localised||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013||Extirpated (Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2013)|
|-Maryland||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Massachusetts||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Michigan||Localised||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013||Extirpated (Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2013)|
|-Mississippi||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Missouri||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Montana||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Nevada||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-New Hampshire||Localised||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-New Jersey||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-New York||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-North Carolina||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Ohio||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Oklahoma||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Pennsylvania||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Rhode Island||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-South Carolina||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Tennessee||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Texas||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
|-Virginia||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2013|
Central America and Caribbean
|Bahamas||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-ARS, 2013|
|Guam||Absent, unreliable record||Introduced||Invasive||Stone, 1970; Fosberg et al., 1979|
|Micronesia, Federated states of||Absent, unreliable record||Introduced||Invasive|
|New Caledonia||Absent, unreliable record||Introduced||Invasive||MacKee, 1994|
|Northern Mariana Islands||Absent, unreliable record||Introduced||Invasive||Fosberg et al., 1979; Raulerson, 2006|
|Papua New Guinea||Absent, unreliable record||Introduced||Invasive||Peekel, 1984|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
If the records attributed to M. scandens are actually M. micrantha and/or other Mikania species (see Identity section), the risk of introduction of M. scandens is low in the near future since it has no horticultural use at present and does not appear to exhibit extensive long-distance dispersal. M. scandens does thrive in wetlands and can be weedy in areas subject to flooding (Moon et al., 1993), and thus transport of seeds or vegetative plant sections between wetland environments should be avoided.
HabitatTop of page
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial – Managed||Disturbed areas||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Disturbed areas||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Natural|
|Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-natural||Natural forests||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Natural|
|Scrub / shrublands||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Natural|
|Coastal areas||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Natural|
|Reservoirs||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Rivers / streams||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Natural|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
Chromosome number 2n=38 (Holm et al., 1991; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2013). Tzeng (2003) compared the nrDNA ITS region of M. micrantha, M. cordata and M. scandens, and found a 97% phylogenetic similarity between M. micrantha, while M. scandens was considerably more divergent. Tzeng (2003) utilized plant material of M. micrantha and M. cordata from Taiwan, and used PCR, comparing the ITS sequence of these plants with that available for M. scandens on GeneBank. Few other studies are available on the genetics of M. scandens or other Mikania species. Further research would be useful in resolving the ongoing identity issues (see Identity section).
In a study of the pollen of 10 species of Asteraceae, Mondal et al. (1998) identified the following free amino acids; amino-n-butyric acid, aspartic acid, ornithine, and prolilne in a specimen reputed to be M. scandens.
Seed dispersed may be facilitated by wind or in clothing or hair of animals (PIER, 2013). Seeds are retained in the soil as soil seed banks, although sometimes only a minor constituent of wetland seed bank communities, depending on the environment (Peterson and Baldwin, 2004; Neff et al., 2009). Vegetative reproduction may occur from broken stem fragments. Each node of the stem can produce new roots (PIER, 2013).
Physiology and Phenology
M. scandens exhibited a Type 2 germination response, similar to other related Asteraceae, meaning that the minimum temperature for germination decreases after ripening (Baskin et al., 1993). Neff et al. (2009) observed greater germination of M. scandens under non-flooded versus flooded conditions.
Moon et al. (1993) recorded increased growth rates of M. scandens under flooded conditions when grown in soil collected from the lakeside where it occurred in Florida. Flooded plants increased their aerenchyma tissue, indicating its ability to acclimatize to flooded conditions anatomically to facilitate increased oxygen diffusion to its tissues. The plant appears to utilize stomata located above the waterline to enable submerged parts of the plants to gain a sufficient supply of oxygen.
M. scandens is a perennial vine that grows for approximately 20 years (USDA-NRCS, 2013) under favourable conditions.
In its native range in eastern North America, M. scandens primarily grows in the summer (USDA-NRCS, 2013).
Population Size and Density
As a vine, M. scandens tends to appear in communities in later successional stages following the initial disturbance, once a substrate is available for its climbing habit. For example, Huffman and Lonard (1983) observed it colonizing swamps in Arkansas in the second stage of succession – the “water-willow herbaceous stage” as the water-willow mat grew in size allowing a variety of marsh plants to invade. As plant communities in the Atchafalaya Delta in Louisiana changed over time with the formation of islands, M. scandens was among species which declined over time, due to changes in water level and loss of vegetation to act as scaffolding for the vines (Shaffer et al., 1992), In a successional sequence involving increasing eutrophication, M. scandens populations is likely to increase over time (Vaithiyanathan and Richardson, 1999).
M. scandens is not an overly strong competitor. It is not generally found in disturbed environments (Weaver, 2009; Anderson et al., 2012) and exhibited higher populations where forests were thinned in Louisiana and Mississippi (McComb and Nobel, 1982).
M. scandens may form substantial seed banks in some areas; e.g., Peterson and Baldwin (2004) found that M. scandens dominated swamp hollows in Maryland and van der Valk and Rosburg (1997) recorded large seed banks (greater than 5000 per square metre) in the cattail zone of the Florida Everglades.
Eutrophic wetlands tend to support more vigorous growth of M. scandens, via higher levels of phosphorus and other nutrients (Vaithiyanathan and Richardson, 1999; King and Richardson, 2007). M. scandens is said to have a medium fertility requirement (USDA-NRCS, 2013).
M. scandens is colonized by arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, as observed in the Florida Everglades (Aziz et al., 1995).
M. scandens prefers fine-medium textured wet soils pH (5.7-8.7) and can withstand some water-logging but has low salinity tolerance (USDA-NRCS, 2013). It requires a minimum frost-free period of 110 days, 75-150 cm of rain; and cannot withstand temperatures below -39ºC (USDA-NRCS, 2013).
ClimateTop of page
|Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year||Preferred||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year|
|Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer||Preferred||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers|
|Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter||Preferred||Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)|
|Df - Continental climate, wet all year||Tolerated||Continental climate, wet all year (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, wet all year)|
Air TemperatureTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit|
|Absolute minimum temperature (ºC)||-39|
|Mean annual temperature (ºC)||10||25|
|Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC)||15||33|
|Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC)||-15||20|
RainfallTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit||Description|
|Mean annual rainfall||750||1500||mm; lower/upper limits|
Soil TolerancesTop of page
- seasonally waterlogged
Water TolerancesTop of page
|Parameter||Minimum Value||Maximum Value||Typical Value||Status||Life Stage||Notes|
|Salinity (part per thousand)||0||Optimum||Occurs as an emergent aquatic, near shore|
|Salinity (part per thousand)||5||Harmful||Occurs as an emergent aquatic, near shore|
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
|Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus||Herbivore||Leaves||not specific|
|Cosmosoma myrodora||Herbivore||Leaves||to genus|
|Golovinomyces cichoracearum||Pathogen||Leaves||not specific|
|Tylenchulus palustris||Parasite||Roots||not specific|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
Dow et al. (1990) found that M. scandens was a host to the nematode Tylenchulus palustris but not T. semipenetrans; both Tylenchulus species are pests of citrus in Florida.
The powdery mildew, Erysiphe cichoracearum [Golovinomyces cichoracearum] is known to infect M. scandens in the USA (Schmitt, 1955). Evans and Ellison (2005) described a rust species, Puccinia spegazzinii, on M. micrantha and plants identified as M. scandens in the neotropics. However, the voucher specimen identified as M. scandens was M. micrantha as confirmed by molecular analysis of the plant material (Ellison et al., 2004).
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Impact SummaryTop of page
|Environment (generally)||Positive and negative|
Economic ImpactTop of page
Within its native range in eastern North America, M. scandens is rarely seen to have a negative impact, growing primarily in natural areas (Anderson et al., 2012). It is quite common in some areas, particularly in riparian zones and drainage ditches. M. scandens is capable of forming a fairly dense cover, outcompeting other plants through overtopping them and showing a “propensity to become a problematic weed in some areas” (Moon et al., 2003).
Environmental ImpactTop of page
Impact on Habitats
Although M. scandens is fairly common in the southern part of its native range in North America, its weediness is only mentioned with respect to wetlands in Florida, such as the banks of the Oklawaha River (Moon et al., 1993).
Impact on Biodiversity
On Mariana Island, M. scandens is said to be one of the non-native species threatening the endangered plant species, Osmoxylon mariannense (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2007). With only 10 known individuals of O. mariannense remaining in the wild, “a single adverse environmental events or a decline of successful reproduction in O. mariannense” (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2007) could have serious consequences, and thus the threat of invasive competitors should be taken seriously. The report does refer to identification of M. scandens by Fosberg (1979), which is prior to when taxonomists began recognizing the confusion between M. scandens and M. micrantha (Parker, 1972), and thus it would be essential to verify the identity of the Mikania species on the island.
Although not noted as of concern, M. scandens has been listed as present in the Pabitora Wildlife Sanctuary, an Indian wildlife tropical grassland reserve where the one-horned rhinoceros occurs (Bairagee and Kalita, 2004). However, due to the location of this record being outside of Northern America, this record must therefore be refering to M. micrantha.
Threatened SpeciesTop of page
|Threatened Species||Conservation Status||Where Threatened||Mechanism||References||Notes|
|Osmoxylon mariannense||CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||Competition||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2007|
Social ImpactTop of page
The numerous flowers produced by Mikania species are reported as having potential allergenic effects, and produce amino acids that are precursors to allergenic pollen (Mondal et al., 1998).
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Has a broad native range
- Tolerant of shade
- Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
- Reproduces asexually
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Host damage
- Modification of successional patterns
- Causes allergic responses
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Competition - smothering
- Pest and disease transmission
- Rapid growth
- Produces spines, thorns or burrs
- Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
UsesTop of page
Economic and Social Benefits
There are many published reports of medicinal uses of M. scandens around the world, but most of these are from outside North America, and thus the plants in question represent M. micrantha (see Identity section).
The plant identified as M. scandens in India and Bangladesh is utilized in that region for a variety of medical purposes, including use in folk medicine for the treatment of stomach ulcers (Herz et al., 1970; Hasan et al., 2009; Chandra et al., 2012). In a survey of villagers in the Eastern Himalayan zone of Arunachal Pradesh, India, M. scandens was cited as the most popular treatment for diarrhoea; villagers also used it as a blood coagulant (Tangjang et al., 2011). In Madagascar a cold tea from M. scandens has been used as a wash to treat scabies (Novy, 1997).
In vitro experiments showed that the flowers displayed marked anti-inflammatory properties (Chandra et al., 2012). Rural dwellers in India also utilize young Mikania leaves for management of insect bites and stings, and research has confirmed analgesic and in vitro antioxidant and antidiabetic activities of leaf material (Hasan et al., 2009; Pal, 2013). The antioxidants exhibit potential to treat diseases involving oxidants or free radicals. Dey et al. (2011b) reported that root extracts had more potent anti-inflammatory potential than aerial parts of the plant. Plant extracts were also shown to have locomotor depressant, muscle relaxant and sedative neuropharmacological properties (Dey et al., 2011a; 2012c). Another study found that an extract from M. scandens collected in India had potent liver protective activity (Maity and Ahmad, 2012).
Compounds from Mikania species are also used as antimicrobial folk medicines in the new world; the compound deoxymikanolide was identified as the principle active ingredient from M. micrantha (Lentz et al., 1998) and Radtke and König (2008) demonstrated antimicrobial activity from foliage. Deoxymikanolide was originally described from M. scandens (Herz et al., 1970), but this was clearly a misidentification (Lentz et al., 1998).
Baidya et al. (1995) found that in India, the Mikania they tested provided quality forage for goats or cattle. It was relatively rich in crude protein (17%), provided a reasonable source of other nutrients and produced soft, fairly palatable leaves. Baidya et al. (1995) described M. scandens as a common plant in marshy areas or road-sides, and distributed throughout Eastern Assam and South India (according to Singh et al., 1990); this is therefore referring to M. micrantha and not M. scandens (see Identity section).
Dey et al. (2012a; 2012b) showed that phytochemicals from both aerial parts and roots of the plant identified in India as M. scandens had considerable allelopathic potential, inhibiting both seed germination and radicle growth of Cicer arietinum and Triticum aestivum. Likewise, Piyasena and Dharmatne (2013), utilizing material referred to as M. scandens from Sri Lanka, found that aerial parts of the plant strongly inhibited seed germination via the compound mikanolide.
M. scandens was listed as one of the plants involved in the recovery of a marsh community in Connecticut, USA after removal of invasive Phragmites australis (Farnsworth and Meyerson, 1999). In a habitat in Florida, host to the extinct dusky seaside sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus nigrescens), M. scandens is one of the constituents of the plant community (Holder et al., 1980). M scandens was also among the target plants for restoration of a wetland important for wildlife in the Florida Everglades (Smith et al., 2002) where it thrives in cattail (Typha domingensis) dominated zones (van der Valk and Rosburg, 1997). In some areas Mikania species may provide a nutritional food source for herbivorous mammals (Mondal et al., 2003; Matsubayashi et al., 2007).
Uses ListTop of page
Animal feed, fodder, forage
- Fodder/animal feed
- Wildlife habitat
Human food and beverage
- Leaves (for beverage)
- Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Avoiding excessive disturbance around waterways in areas vulnerable to invasion of M. scandens, (Moon et al., 1993), should prevent establishment of new populations.
Control methods utilized for M. micrantha should also be effective for M. scandens. Herbicidal control methods may be somewhat limited by the occurrence of M. scandens in or near wetland areas.
Cultural Control and Sanitary Measures
Although excessive flooding does not promote growth of M. scandens (Baldwin et al., 2001), M. scandens has been shown to be flood resistant. Therefore, cultural measures to reduce the growth of M. scandens should be carried out in such a way to avoid its adaptive response to flooding (Moon et al., 1993).
Physical/mechanical control of M. scandens can be difficult due to the extensive growth of vines and their ability to propagate from fragments.
There have been some reports of efforts to control M. scandens by classical biological control using the thrips, Liothrips mikaniae from Trinidad (Waterhouse and Norris, 1987). However, due to the location of these releases (outside of North America)and the distribution of M. scandens, it is likely that M. micrantha was the actual target.
It may be possible to manage Mikania species in some areas through livestock grazing.
Control by herbicides such as glyphosate, 2,4-D or paraquat has been shown to be effective against Mikania species, but re-growth is possible after herbicide applications.
Gaps in Knowledge/Research NeedsTop of page
There is a need for plant taxonomists to check herbarium specimens and photos from geographic regions around the world where putatively M. scandens occurs outside its native range in eastern North America, i.e., to examine specimens from south-east Asia and the Pacific Islands to verify what species of Mikania occurs in these areas. Furthermore, the work of Tzeng (2003) comparing the nrDNA ITS region among Mikania species showing a strong divergence between M. micrantha and M. scandens could be replicated using putative M. scandens material from various accessions.
ReferencesTop of page
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Choudhury AK, 1972. Controversia Mikania (climber) - a threat to the forests and agriculture. Indian Forester, 98:178-186.
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Dey P; Chandra S; Chatterjee P; Bhattacharya S, 2011. Neuropharmacological properties of Mikania scandens (L.) Willd. (Asteraceae). Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research, 2:255-259.
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Ellison CA; Evans HC; Ineson J, 2004. The significance of intraspecific pathogenicity in the selection of a rust pathotype for the classical biological control of Mikania micrantha (mile-a-minute weed) in Southeast Asia. In: Proceedings of the 11th International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds [ed. by Cullen, J. M. \Briese, D. T. \Kriticos, D. J. \Lonsdale, W. M. \Morin, L. \Scott, J. K.]. Canberra, Australia: CSIRO Entomology, 102-107.
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Hasan SMR; Mariam Jamila; Majumder MM; Raushanara Akter; Hossain MM; Mazumder MEH; Alam MA; Rumana Jahangir; Rana MS; Arif M; Rahman S, 2009. Analgesic and antioxidant activity of the hydromethanolic extract of Mikania scandens (L.) Willd. leaves. American Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology, 4(1):1-7.
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Holder GL; Johnson MK; James JL, 1980. Cattle grazing and management of dusky seaside sparrow habitat. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 8(2):105-109.
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Holmes WC, 1975. A revision of Mikania scandens and relatives (Compositae). Mississippi, USA: Mississippi State University.
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21/12/2013 Original text by:
David R. Clements, Trinity Western University, Canada
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