Plant Industry - Mile-a-Minute Weed

Mile-a-Minute Weed or Tearthumb (Polygonum perfoliatum) was detected by NCDA&CS Plant Protection Specialist Dan Wall at a nursery in southern Wake County on June 12, 2000. This prickly, annual, climbing vine is listed as a Class B Noxious Weed under our State Noxious Weed Regulations. Because of its rapid, aggressive, scrambling growth, Mile-a-Minute represents a serious threat to nurseries, Christmas tree plantations, reforestation sites, and rights-of-way. The common name "Mile-a-Minute" is testimony to its rapid growth, while "Tearthumb" derives from the recurved barbs found on the stems, petioles, and leaf veins.

The two plants found on 6/12 were growing in pots with Hosta plants in two small shade houses. This is the first reported occurrence of Mile-a-Minute in North Carolina. A native of Asia, the weed was first reported in the eastern United States before 1950, appearing at a nursery in York County, Pennsylvania. It has subsequently spread to other sites in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, West Virginia, and Ohio.

Some identifying characteristics of Mile-a-Minute are shown in the accompanying images.

If you suspect the presence of Mile-a-Minute, please notify your NCDA&CS Plant Protection Specialist or contact NCDA&CS Weed Specialist at 1-800-206-WEED.

Image Gallery of Mile-a-Minute Weed

Viney Growth Habit of  Mile-a-Minute
Viney Growth Habit of Mile-a-Minute
Close-Up of Ocrea
Close-Up of Ocrea
Mile-a-Minute Leaves and Stem
 Mile-a-Minute Leaves and Stem
Terminal Flower Buds
Terminal Flower Buds
Close-Up of Recurved Barbs on Leaf Veins and Petioles
Close-Up of Recurved Barbs 
on Leaf Veins and Petioles
Peltate Leaf, Showing Attachment of   Petiole Away From Margin of Leaf
Peltate Leaf, Showing Attachment of Petiole 
Away From Margin of Leaf

Useful Links

Invasive Exotic Plants of Canada Fact Sheets     
USGS-Chinese Tearthumb