Eastern and southern Asia.
In Florida, invades various native plant communities, including sandhill, floodplain, and upland mixed forest. Can create dense canopies leading to damage or death of native vegetation (Gann and Gordon 1998).
Skunkvine is a woody vine that does not have thorns. Its vines are able to grow 30 feet in length, climbing up into tree canopies or crawling along the ground. Generally skunkvine leaf blades have rounded to cordate (heart) shaped bases and acuminate (pointed) tips, with entire (smooth) margins. Leaves may be opposite on the stem. In rare instances, leaves have also been found in whorls of three. Leaves and flowers are on petioles about 2 ½ inches long. Skunk vine flowers are small, light grayish pink or lilac, with red centers. The fruit are small, spherical, shiny brown having 2 black, non-winged seeds. Skunkvine is able to reproduce vegetatively and via seed. Its stems are able to root readily in soil. Skunkvine is listed as a Category 1 invasive by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC).
The smelly, foul odor released when skunkvine is crushed is a useful characteristic that can aid in identification. For some unknown reason, the vines constantly twine to the right. May be confused with the closely-related sewer vine, P.cruddasiana (also a FLEPPC Category 1 plant) but its fruits are oval, flattened, with distinctly winged seeds.
Introduced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture before 1897 as a potential fiber plant; by 1916 already “a troublesome weed” around the Brooksville Field Station (Morton 1976).
Throughout all of Florida.
Applying herbicide is one of the most effective means of controlling skunkvine, but multiple applications may be needed.