Also known as: Traveler’s joy, clematis
Old man’s beard is an aggressive vine that climbs over and smothers native vegetation. It can even topple whole groves of mature trees! It was originally introduced as an ornamental, but has rapidly spread across western Oregon, especially in the northern Willamette Valley.
|Life Cycle:||Perennial (life cycle lasts more than one year)|
|Early Detection and Rapid Response species:||No|
|Height:||Can grow up to 90 feet (30 meters)|
|Leaf Description:||The lime green leaves are deciduousTrees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally., somewhat toothed, and are arranged opposite on the stem. They are compoundA leaf consisting of several distinct leaflets joined to a single stem., usually having five leaflets per leaf.|
|Fruit & Flower Description:||The flowers are small, greenish-white, and often grow in loose clusters. Each seed has feathery hairs, creating a white puff which gives the plant its common name, old man’s beard. The fuzzy seed heads remain on the vine well after the leaves have fallen.|
|Bloom Time:||June to September|
- Old man’s beard typically grows along forest edges, riparian areasAreas that are directly adjacent to flowing streams, creeks, or rivers., roadsides, and in hedges and trees.
- It prefers sunny areas and tolerates many soil types, but prefers well-drained, damp soils.
- Old man’s beard blankets the ground, shrubs, and trees, blocking out sunlight for other plants.
- Trees covered in it are at risk of being toppled, due to the immense weight of the vines.
What you can do about it:
- The best time to remove old man’s beard is in the spring or fall, when the soil is damp and its roots are easy to pull from the ground.
- To treat old man’s beard growing on the ground, pull its roots and vines from the soil. After it has been removed, make sure it has no contact with the soil by placing it on a tarp to dry out. This will prevent it from re-growing.
- Do not pull old man’s beard vines off trees. This can dislodge branches or damage tree bark. Instead, cut its vines at chest height down to the base of the tree, creating a gap on the tree trunk. It will take some time, but the remaining vines will slowly die and fall off.
Old man’s beard looks similar to many native varieties of clematis, including western clematis (Clematis ligusticifolia). The best way to distinguish these species is by examining their length. Native clematis grows to about 20 feet (6 meters), whereas old man’s beard can grow up to 90 feet (30 meters).
Old man’s beard is often confused with another invasive weed, English and Irish ivy (Hedera species) because of their ability to climb and topple trees.