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Mile a minute leaves

Mile-a-minute vine (Polygonum perfoliatum or Persicaria perfoliata)

A rapid growing herbaceous annual vine that can grow to be 20’ tall with support from nearby vegetation. It has delicate reddish stems that are covered with barbs.


Regulated areas of mile-a-minute vine
Mile-a-minute vine is Prohibited (Red counties)

Other names for this plant include:

  • Common names: Asiatic tearthumb, devil's tail tearthumb
  • Scientific names: Persicaria perfoliata; Ampelygonum perfoliatum

Ecological threat:

  • Prefers moist areas and invades woodland edges, wetlands, and stream banks where the buoyant seeds can disperse easily.
  • Smothers native plants by growing up to 6” in one day.

Classification in Wisconsin: Prohibited

Species Assessment Groups (SAG) were assembled to recommend a legal classification for each species considered for NR 40. The recommendation for mile-a-minute vine was based upon this literature review developed by the department.


Leaves: An equilateral triangle, 3 sides that are all the same length. They are simple, alternate, and light green. It has barbs on the underside and there are circular, cup-shaped leaves at intervals on the stem.

Flowers: Appear in saucer-shaped leaves, are white, inconspicuous, and closed.

Fruits & seeds: Segmented pea-sized berries are metallic blue with each segment containing one seed. Spread by water, birds, ants, and other animals.

Roots: Fibrous.

Similar species: Native tearthumbs are distinguished easily from mile-a-minute vine’s fruit that look like berries and triangle shaped leaves that are equal on all sides.


Known county distribution of mile-a-minute vine
Counties in WI where mile-a-minute vine has been reported (as of July 2011). Both vouchered and unvouchered reports included.

Currently, there have not been reports of mile-a-minute vine in WI. Have you seen it? Send us a report.


Mechanical: Pull populations and let dehydrate in sun for several days. Repeated mowing or cutting will prevent flowering and seed production. WEAR THICK GLOVES!

Chemical: Glyphosate and clopyralid can be used for foliar sprays.


View mile-a-minute vine pictures in our photo gallery!


Sources for content:

  • Czarapata, Elizabeth; Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest: an illustrated guide to their identification and control. University of Wisconsin Press. 2005. Pg. 130

Links for More Information

Last revised: Monday December 11 2017