Ohio State University Extension Bulletin 866-98

Identifying Noxious Weeds of Ohio

Bulletin 866-98

Mile-a-Minute Weed
(Polygonum perfoliatum)

Habitat: Nurseries, roadsides, wet meadows, wood borders, other sunny, moist areas. Not yet common in Ohio, but has spread rapidly through the northeastern states.

Life cycle: annual

Growth Habit: persistent vine that can extend 20 feet

Leaves: Unique, triangle-shaped leaves with saucer-shaped sheathes near the base of stems. 1-3 inch leaves are light green, turning reddish-brown in winter, and have sharp, curved prickles on the petioles and leaf veins.

Stem: numerous sharp, backward-curving prickles

Fruit: pea-size, berrylike, fleshy, iridescent blue fruits

The problem is.... this troublesome annual can grow six inches per day, suffocating other vegetation in its path. Seeds spread easily through waterways or by birds and animals. The weed was introduced accidentally with nursery stock from Asia. Mile-a-minute weed is a recent intruder in Ohio (sited in Washington County).

 unusual triangular leaves of  mile-a-minute weed

The unusual triangular leaves of mile-a-minute weed, combined with
jagged prickles, make identification easy. Note the saucer-like sheathes
near the base of petioles.

blue berries

Birds and animals that eat these blue berries have spread mile-a-minute
weed into new areas.

 mile-a-minute weed

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