Skip to main content

Climbing spindleberry

Progressive Containment

Climbing spindleberry

report this pest request info

Why it is a pest plant

threatIdentifying features

Production threat Environmental threat Public threat

Identifying features

Climbing spindleberry is a woody perennial vine, sometimes occurring as a trailing shrub. It is deciduous (loses its leaves in winter). The outer surface of its roots is characteristically bright orange.

The bark of climbing spindleberry is greyish-brown with lenticles (raised areas), which sometimes form sharp spines on winter growth. Spindleberry’s brightly coloured fruits have made climbing spindleberry popular for use in floral arrangements.


  • Flowers are greenish in colour and in small clusters.
  • Flowers are 4-10mm in diameter with five petals.

Fruit/ seed

  • Climbing spindleberry has separate male and female plants. Both sexes will produce flowers, but only the female plants will produce berries.
  • Fruits are 6-8mm in diameter. They turn green, changing to yellow and then to yellow-orange by early winter.
  • The fruits split open when ripe (in winter), revealing red/ orange interiors framing the berries.


  • Leaves are glossy, variable, usually oval, and most often have drip tips.
  • They are finely toothed and arranged alternately along the stem.
  • Each leaf is around 50-100mm long (up to 150mm in shade).
  • Leaves are green in colour, then bright yellow in autumn.

Climbing spindleberry is a deciduous climber that can grow up to 12m high and forms stems up to 20cm in diameter. It is an aggressive invader that threatens native bush, forestry and open areas. Its seedlings are shade-tolerant. It is particularly of threat to production forestry because it can strangle pine trees.

Climbing spindleberry is found in several locations in the northern North Island in small isolated patches. In the Waikato, most sites are south of Hamilton, mainly in the Taupō and King Country areas.

Climbing spindleberry

Responsibility for control

Waikato Regional Council is responsible for the control of climbing spindleberry. If you think you’ve seen it, call us – do not attempt to remove it yourself. However, landowners/occupiers are encouraged to report climbing spindleberry on their properties and liaise with Waikato Regional Council in areas where control programmes are in place. Climbing spindleberry is also banned from being sold, propagated, distributed or included in commercial displays.

How to control climbing spindleberry

If you see this weed on your property, do not cut or treat it. Call 0800 BIOSEC (0800 246 732) to report it to your local biosecurity pest plant officer.


More information


  • For advice and additional information on control methods, call our pest plant staff on freephone 0800 BIOSEC (0800 246 732).
  • Chemical company representatives, farm supply stores and garden centres can also be good sources for advice.


View, download or order the following publications or call our freephone 0800 800 401.

  • National Pest Plant Accord (Manual of plants banned from sale, propagation and distribution) ($10.00 plus GST)
  • Plant Me Instead! (Plants to use in place of common pest plants) (free)
  • Waikato Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) (free) (Section 5.8, page 56)
  • Waikato Regional Council pest guide (free)


Weedbusters logo

Click on the printer icon to download a printable copy of this factsheet >>> Click here for a printable copy of this factsheet