The Division of Plant Industry at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has issued a request to Floridians to be on the look out for Mikania micrantha, an invasive weed recently identified in Florida.

Mikania micrantha, also known as climbing hempweed, is considered noxious, or harmful, by international standards. It thrives in warm and humid environments. As a rapidly growing, climbing vine, it can smother and overwhelm other small plants and even large trees.

Recently detected in the Redlands area of Miami-Dade County, the weed is a significant threat to agricultural and environmental areas. This plant is present on roadsides and woodlots, in several nurseries and in numerous residential landscapes. Left uncontrolled, it can cover areas in only a few months and quickly spread to agricultural and natural areas.

Due to early detection of the weed, it is possible to slow the spread and potential destruction to Florida’s agricultural and natural areas. The Division of Plant Industry formed a task force with representatives from agriculture and environmental agencies on the state and federal level, as well as non-profit organizations, to address survey, management, research and outreach efforts.

The Division of Plant Industry also entered into a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to engage the public in efforts to stop the spread of this destructive weed. The Division produced an online video to educate the public on how to identify and manage Mikania micrantha. In addition, they distributed informational materials to properties in high-risk areas. The Division of Plant Industry requests individuals who believe they have identified the plant in their area to call 1-888-397-1517.

For more information and to view the video, visit http://www.freshfromflorida.com/pi/mikania-micrantha.