by Judy Bernard, Master Gardener
While taking a walk along one day along one of the lane ways along Crowe Lake, I spotted Dog Strangling Vine. It was because of the flowers that I recognized it. They are very small, 5 to 9 mm long, star shaped and pink to dark purple in colour. The vines grow 1 to 2 metres long and will twine around structures, other plants or each other. The leaves are oval with a pointed tip, 5 to 9 cm long and grow on opposite sides of the stem. The flowers develop into a bean shaped pod filled with feathery seeds that are dispersed in late summer (similar to the milkweed pod, but much narrower).
The problem with dog strangling vine is that it can form dense stands that can overcome and force out other plants. Its leaves and roots are toxic to animals. It threatens the Monarch Butterfly which will lay its eggs on the plant, but the larva cannot develop. (It’s related to milkweed, a plant necessary for the Monarch Butterfly.)
I contacted the municipality and they have no program for its control, so it’s up to the individual property owner to be aware of it and to control its spread.
The Ontario Invading Species Program has information of how to control its spread.
If you already have some on your property, check out Best Management Practices. This also is from the Ontario Government.