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Chocolate vine

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Progressive containment

Chocolate Vine

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Why it is a pest plant


Identifying Features

Chocolate vine is a fast growing, deciduous, twining vine or groundcover native to Central China, Korea and Japan. It was brought to New Zealand originally as an ornamental garden vine. Since then it has spread from home gardens into other areas of the region.

Chocolate vine grows rapidly into a dense tangled mat which can overwhelm existing plants and suppress the growth of new ones in both native bush and garden situations. Along bush margins it prevents seed germination and the establishment of new native plants. It has been spread in New Zealand by both deliberate and accidental plantings of stem fragments which take root readily (vegetative dispersal) and through birds eating the fruit (seed dispersal).

Production threat Environmental threat Public threat

Identifying features


  • Vanilla or chocolate scented flowers.
  • Flowers are 2.5cm in diameter and hang in 5-10cm long clusters of 6-8 flowers.
  • Chocolate to purple in colour.
  • Flowering is from August to October.

Fruit/ seed

  • Purple-violet coloured flattened seed pods 8-9cm long with whitish seed pulp.
  • Pulp contains many tiny black seeds which are dispersed by birds.


  • Many slender and green steams which turn brown when they mature.
  • Each leaf alternates along the stem.
  • Each leaf is made up of five oval leaflets (3-10cm long), each creating a ‘hand-shaped’ leaf on a long stalk.
  • Leaf colour changes during growth from green with a purplish tinge to blue-green at maturity.

Responsibility for control

All landowner/occupiers in the Waikato are responsible for the control of chocolate vine on their property.

All landowners/occupiers in the Waikato are responsible for controlling chocolate vine on their properties and are required to work with Waikato Regional Council in areas where control programmes are in place. Chocolate vine is also banned from being sold, propagated, distributed or included in commercial displays.

How to control chocolate vine

Physical control

Dig out small vines and any seedlings at any time of the year, taking care to get all the roots. Dispose of in black garbage bags to a lined landfill. Do not compost or leave lying where they can take root again. Follow this up regularly until no more seedlings come up then replant with preferred species.

For larger plants, cut the vine stems off at ground level and repeat when they regrow. Tie off hanging vines in the canopy so they cannot touch the ground and revegetate. Once growth has died back, dig out root systems and dispose of carefully to lined landfill. Repeat the process until all signs of regrowth have gone.

Herbicide control

Cut and paste

Cut stems at ground level and apply immediately with glyphosate or picloram gel to both ends. This method is most suitable with large vines where the risk of damaging desirable plants is high.

Spray application

Overall spray application using triclopyr or triclopyr/picloram mix. You can also spray glyphosate in spring or summer spray at 300ml/15L water, or use triclopyr at 60ml/10L water plus penetrant. Totally cover the leaf surface with herbicides. This method is most suitable for larger vines where the level of risk to desirable plants is low.

Safety when using herbicides

  • Follow the instructions on the manufacturer’s label.
  • Always wear protective clothing.
  • Always minimise the risk to your other plants.
  • Contact the supplier for further advice.

Disclaimer: Any product names mentioned below are not an endorsement nor are they a criticism of similar products not mentioned.

Summary of herbicides and application methods for control



Glyphosate Cut and paste treatment.
Spray application.
Triclopyr Spray application.
Triclopyr/picloram mix Cut and paste treatment. 
Spray application.
Picloram or glyphosate gels Cut and paste treatment.
Herbicide rules will apply. You may need to notify neighbours if spraying. The Waikato Regional Plan explains the agrichemical (herbicides) use rule in section 6.2


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)


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