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Mile-a-Minute Weed (invasive)

Scientific name: Persicaria perfoliata

This invasive weed is an vigorous barbed vine that invades open areas such as fields, forest edges, roadsides and ditches. Its rapid growth has given it its name, “mile-a-minute”.  The dense mats that form cover the existing vegetation and restrict light availability, smothering and potentially killing the plants below.

This annual is a self-fertile plant. Its flowers produces seeds June through October.



The alternate leaves are triangular, light green and 1-3 inches wide. They are barbed on the underside.


Small white flowers form spikes of blue, berry like fruits.

Blooming Season

It flowers June through October.

Fun Facts

Also called Devil’s tear thumb because of the barbed undersurface of the leaves and stem.

It Grows Fast!

This vine can spread up to six inches in one day! While its vines are killed by frost, its seeds can float for 7-9 days and live up to six years before germinating and forming new plants.


It is found in open areas such as field, forest edges, roadsides, ditches and stream banks.

Human Connections

It is native to Eastern Asia and the Philippines and was introduced several times into the US from the late 1800s to the 1930s.

How You Can Help

Frequent mowing or weed-wacking can be very effective as long as it is done by June, before the seeds have formed.

Why not volunteer to help us keep the mile-a-minute and other invasives out of our preserves? Many volunteers work throughout the year on a variety of projects. From volunteering at one of our native plant gardens, to helping maintain our trails at Leon Levy, Old Field and Brownell, help is always welcome.

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