Quick Facts

Quick facts

  • Ivy Gourd (Coccinia grandis) climbs over shrubs and trees, forming a dense barrier that excludes sunlight from the canopy.
  • It can be controlled by chemical means.
  • Physical control methods have little effect as the parent plant forms multiple plantlets which resprout.
  • Shoot tips are used in Asian cooking, so long-range dispersal is often by humans.

What Does It Look Like?

What is it?

Ivy Gourd (Coccinia grandis) is a tuberous, perennial, broad-leaved, herbaceous climber with simple tendrils and smooth stems up to 13 m high. The leaves are alternately arranged on the stem in a spiral with a leaf stalk 13–19 mm long (occasionally longer). The leaf surface is hairy and 35–41 mm long and 52–56 mm wide, dissected or lobed like a hand. The leaf margins are toothed.

The single white flowers occur where the leaves meet the stem. The flower stalk is 11–50 mm long. The 5 petals are 34–36 mm long and all petals are joined. The three stamens (male parts of the flower) are joined to the petals and to each other and form a column.

The fruit has numerous seeds (Western Australian Herbarium 1998-).

For further information and assistance with identification of Ivy Gourd contact the herbarium in your state or territory.

Flower colour


Growth form (weed type/habit)


Where it currently grows? Preferred habitat

Ivy Gourd is mostly found in wetter tropical and subtropical environments. It is a pest of gardens, plantation crops, roadsides, waste areas, fence-lines, bushland and open forests (Navie 2004).

Are there similar species?

Ivy Gourd is quite distinctive and there are no native or naturalised species which closely resemble it (Navie 2004).

Why Is It A Weed?

What are its impacts?

Native ecosystems: Ivy Gourd climbs over shrubs and trees, forming a dense barrier that excludes sunlight from the canopy. It has the potential to invade dry, tropical and sub-tropical rainforests (PIER 2006).

How does it spread?

Ivy Gourd can reproduce from cuttings, bird-dispersed seeds, and/or probable dispersal by feral pigs. The shoot tips are used in Asian cooking, so long-range dispersal is often the result of introduction by humans (PIER 2006).

What is its history in Australia?

It is not known how Ivy Gourd arrived in Australia. The first herbarium record is from Port Bradshaw, Northern Territory in 1948.

How To Manage It?

Best practice management

Non-chemical control: Physical control methods in the form of cutting the stems have little effect, while grubbing or hand-pulling is not recommended as it breaks the parent plant up into multiple plantlets which can then resprout. Seeds do not exhibit dormancy, so Ivy Gourd may be eradicable from a defined area.

Chemical control: Ivy Gourd can be controlled by chemical means. However, a single application of herbicide is often insufficient to prevent regrowth. Because of its climbing habit, use of foliar herbicides is difficult without causing damage to the underlying vegetation. Foliar applications followed by basal bark applications of herbicides have been found to be the most effective.

Please see the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority for chemical information http://www.apvma.gov.au .

Biological control: Biological control methods have been used in Hawaii (PIER 2006).

Does it have a biological control agent?


When does it grow? (lifecycle/growth calendar)

Ivy Gourd flowers and fruits all year round (Northern Territory Herbarium 2007).

Where Is It Found?

Which states and territories is it found?


What areas within states and territories is it found?

Ivy Gourd has a scattered naturalised distribution throughout the coastal regions of northern Australia. It is mostly found in northern Queensland and in the northern parts of the Northern Territory. It is also recorded from the northern regions of Western Australia and from south-eastern Queensland (Navie 2004).

Where does it originate?

Ivy Gourd is native to Africa, India and Asia (PIER 2006).

National And State Weed Listings

Is it a Weed of National Significance (WONS)?


Where is it a declared weed?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Is it on the National Alert List for Environmental Weeds?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Is it on the Agricultural Sleeper List?


Government weed strategies and lists – Weeds Australia

Names And Taxonomy

Main scientific name

Coccinia grandis

Other scientific names (synonyms)?

  • Bryonia grandis L.
  • Coccinia cordifolia (L.) Cogn. (misapplied by Specht, R.L. 1958, The Gymnospermae and Angiospermae collected on the Arnhem Land Expedition. Records of the American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land No. 3 Botany and Plant Ecology. 307.)

Does it have other known common name(s)?

Scarlet Gourd, Scarlet-fruited Gourd, Little Gourd

Blackberry – a community-driven approach in Victoria

Blackberry the weed (Rubus fruticosus aggregate) was first introduced to Australia by European settlers in the mid-1800s as a fruit. It was recognised as a weed by mid-1880s. Blackberry is a serious issue across Australia. It is estimated that blackberry infests approximately 8.8 million hectares of land at an estimated cost of $103 million in annual control and production losses.

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