Monroe County is the first in Indiana where a prolific invasive plant has been found.
The plant, mile-a-minute vine, was spotted last fall.
“Mile-a-minute vine is an eastern invasive,” Ellen Jacquart said. “The closest it is to us is southeast Ohio, so we’re talking a hundreds of miles jump.”
Jacquart is chairwoman of MC-IRIS, Monroe County’s Identify and Reduce Invasive Species group, as well as invasive education chairwoman for the Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society. One of her former interns, Stephanie Loutzenheiser, took Jacquart and other plant authorities to see the plant this week after she first found it in the fall. The plant on private property in southwestern Monroe County was eradicated.
The group believes someone purposely planted the vine along a corner post of a fenced yard, possibly because they liked the small flowers and berries the vine produces. While the vine only has been discovered in the one location, Jacquart is concerned that birds and animals have distributed seeds from the plant to nearby areas since it’s been there for the past couple of years or more.
“Birds and animals could have eaten those berries and moved it across southwestern Monroe County,” Jacquart said.
The vine is incredibly fast-growing, much faster than the kudzu that has already covered acres of ground and other vegetation in the Bloomington area.