Vincetoxicum nigrum

Vincetoxicum nigrum (L.) Moench (syn.: Cynanchum nigrum L., C. louiseae (L.) Kartesz & Gandhi) (SW-Eur.) – A rare and usually ephemeral alien, although sometimes persisting for several years. First recorded on a railway bank in Bousval in 1877 and apparently more or less established and fast spreading (Baguet 1883) but long gone now. Furthermore seen at the railway station near Turnhout in the first half of the 20th century. Also recorded on rocky slopes at the Citadelle in Namur, at least between 1948 and 1950. Finally, in 2011 discovered on a railway siding near Heverlee (see also: All records probably represent garden escapes. A majority is remarkably associated with railway tracks.

Locally naturalised in coastal dunes in the Netherlands where it was apparently introduced initially with pheasant feed. In some areas (for instance near Wassenaar) it is abundantly fruiting and much expanding (see: Recently also observed along river Maas (van der Meijden 2005).

Vincetoxicum nigrum is an aggressive environmental weed in many parts of the world, including North America (see for instance DiTommaso & al. 2005).

 Vincetoxicum nigrum, Heverlee, railway siding, June 2011, K. Van Acker Vincetoxicum nigrum, Heverlee, railway siding, June 2011, K. Van Acker

Herbarium specimen

Selected literature

Baguet C. (1883) Nouvelles acquisitions pour la flore belge et notes sur des espèces d’introduction récente, particulièrement le long des voies ferrées. Bull. Soc. Roy. Bot. Belg. 22: 44-97.

DiTommaso A., Lawlor F.M. & Darbyshire S.J. (2005) The biology of invasive alien plants in Canada. 2. Cynanchum rossicum (Kleopow) Borhidi [= Vincetoxicum rossicum (Kleopow) Barbar.] and Cynanchum louiseae (L.) Kartesz & Gandhi [= Vincetoxicum nigrum (L.) Moench]. Canad. J. Pl. Sci. 85: 243-263.

Lumer C. & Yost S.E. (1995) The reproductive biology of Vincetoxicum nigrum (L.) Moench (Asclepiadaceae), a Mediterranean weed in New York State. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 122(1): 15-23.

Petrova A.S. (2010) First records of Vincetoxicum nigrum and Avena byzantina in Bulgaria. Phytologia Balcanica 16(1): 75-78.

Sheeley S.E. & Raynal D.J. (1996) The distribution and status of species of Vincetoxicum in eastern North America. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 123(2): 148-156.

Van der Meijden R. (2005) Heukels’ Flora van Nederland (23e druk). Wolters-Noordhoff, Groningen: 685 p.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith