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   Dipogon lignosus (vine, climber)     
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      Dipogon lignosus flowers (Photo: Peter Swart - Click for full size   Dipogon lignosus flower (Photo: Peter Swart - Click for full size   Dipogon lignosus flowers (Photo: Peter Swart - Click for full size
    Taxonomic name: Dipogon lignosus (L.) Verdc.
    Synonyms: Dolichos capensis Thunb. , Dolichos gibbosus Thunb. , Dolichos lignosus L., Verdcourtia lignosa (L.) R. Wilczek
    Common names: Australian pea, chookhouse vine, dolichos pea, dunny creeper, lavatory creeper, mile-a-minute, okie bean, purple dolichos
    Organism type: vine, climber
    Dipogon lignosus is a climbing vine that has become invasive in the Australian-Pacific region. It vigorously seeds and its growth is relentless. In a short time period this species can smother indigenous vegetation. It climbs over shrubs and trees weighing them down and eventually causing them to break. D. lignosus will also spread horizontally over the ground, smothering native groundcover plants. As a nitrogen fixer, D. lignosus can increase soil fertility, paving the way for other weeds to invade.
    The Victoria DNR (2001) reports that, "Dipogon lignosus is a perennial climbing vine with slender , twining stems that become rope-like with age. This species can climb up to 4m. Leaves are long stalked, smooth, and green above and pale below. Each leaf consists of 3 tapering leaflets (3-9cm ×=1- 7cm). Pods are narrow, sickle shaped. Flowers are borne on clusters of pea-like blooms white, pale mauve to purple, are borne on stalks (5cm long) with ovate, black seeds, (up to 4.5mm long)."

    PIER (2005) describes D. lignosus as a: "Woody climber. Leaves stipulate; blades stipellate, pinnately 3-foliolate. Flowers in axillary racemes, bracts persistent, bracteoles more or less persistent; calyx campanulate; vexillary stamen free, remainder connate, anthers uniform; style cylindrical, dilated at base, strongly curved inwards at top and bottom, gently curved the opposite way in the middle, bearded on inside near top, stigma terminal. Pods cylindrical, attenuate at the ends; seeds estrophiolate but with a conspicuous white hilum. Petioles up to ca 6cm long; leaflet blades ovate-rhomboid, apex obtusely acuminate or acute, 3-10cm x 1.5-4cm (the largest leaflets occurring in cultivated specimens), more or less glabrous, paler on underside. Racemes up to ca 25cm long, including peduncle, the flowers at the upper end; flowers pink-purple, 1-1.5cm long; calyx 3-4mm long, lobes shorter than tube, margin hairy; standard 1-1.5cm long. Pods ca 4cm long, glabrous (Stanley & Ross, 1983, in PIER, 2005)."

    Occurs in:
    natural forests, ruderal/disturbed, urban areas
    Habitat description
    The Eurobodalla Shire Council (2004) states that D. lignosus can be found along forest edges, usually close to towns or old farms.
    General impacts
    The Victoria DNR (2001) states that, "D. lignosus is an invasive plant and a very serious threat to indigenous vegetation. It seeds readily, is a vigorous climber and will smother indigenous vegetation.." "D. lignosus climbs over shrubs and trees, smothering and breaking them down. It also spreads over the ground, smothering native groundcover plants. As a nitrogen fixer, D. lignosus can increase soil fertility, paving the way for other weeds to invade" (Eurobodalla Shire Council, 2004).
    Geographical range
    Native range: Africa (USDA-GRIN, 2005).
    Known introduced range: Asia, Australasia-Pacific region, North America, and South America (ILDIS, 2001; Heyligers and Adams, 2004; and USDA-NRCS, 2005).
    Introduction pathways to new locations
    For ornamental purposes: It was introduced as a garden plant and is still available in nurseries (Victoria DNR, 2001).

    Local dispersal methods
    Natural dispersal (local): Seed is explosively ejected from pods over several metres (Eurobodalla Shire Council, 2004).
    Transportation of habitat material (local): It can be spread further in dumped garden refuse or contaminated soil (Eurobodalla Shire Council, 2004).
    Management information
    The Victoria DNR (2001) states that the best plan of attack is to begin remove small and scattered plants first and then target outer edges of larger infestations. It is best to best to remove plants before they seed. Small Plants can be hand pulled or dug out. One should carefully remove all roots, and minimize soil disturbance. Young seedlings can be sprayed with a suitable herbicide if appropriate. For larger infestations, the authors suggest cutting climbing stems from roots with secateurs. Then proceed to dig out root stumps. Alternatively, one can paint cut stumps of large plants with suitable herbicide immediately after cutting. Hand pull or dig out trailing vines, carefully removing all roots and minimizing soil disturbance. Sites need to be monitored regularly for regrowth and new seedlings, which can be easily hand pulled or dug out. Seed stored in soil is substantially reduced by fire. Mature plants are fire sensitive. The Eurobodalla Shire Council (2004) states that, "A hot fire could be used to kill mature plants and stimulate the germination of seedlings, which can then be sprayed or pulled."
    The Eurobodalla Shire Council (2004) states that, "Seed is explosively ejected from pods over several metres, or spread further in dumped garden refuse or contaminated soil. Seed is viable for many years, and germination can be stimulated by disturbance or fire."
    Reviewed by: Dr Robin Adair Department of Primary Industries, Primary Industries Research Victoria Australia
    Principal sources: Victoria DNR, 2001. Dolichos Pea
    Compiled by: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) with support from the Terrestrial and Freshwater Biodiversity Information System (TFBIS) Programme (Copyright statement)
    Last Modified: Friday, 30 December 2005

ISSG Landcare Research NBII IUCN University of Auckland