Balloon Vine

Cardiospermum grandiflorum

Family: Sapindaceae

Type of weed:

Flowering Months: , ,

Description

An herbaceous climber with hairy stems to more than 10 m long.

Leaves are 6–16 cm long, on a leaf stalk 2–10 cm long, with three leaflets each further divided into three; the margins of leaflets are irregularly toothed.

Flowers contain four white petals in clusters, the stalk of the flower head ending in a pair of tendrils. It flowers mostly in summer.

Fruit is pea-sized, three-seeded in a papery-white enclosed lantern with three sides.

Don’t confuse with…

It can be confused with Slender Grape, a native vine (Cayratia clematidea). Both have compound leaves with toothed margins. The native vine has five leaflets and is not hairy; the weed has nine leaflets. The native vine has green flowers with bunches of black berries, while the weed has creamy flowers with seeds in papery capsules.

Dispersal

Dispersed by seeds, which are transported by wind and water — mostly while attached to the papery seed pods which form little ‘boats’ that travel easily down waterways. Seedlings germinate most of the year on disturbed land.

Impact on bushland

Plants spread over ground or climb trees and shrubs, eventually shading out all light and killing the host plant.

Distribution

. The escarpment, Blaxland, Warrimoo and Springwood. Also the Nepean River

Alternative planting

Native plants

  • Old Man’s Beard (Clematis aristata) (not cultivar clematis)
  • Water Vine (Cissus Antarctica)
  • Wombat Berry (Eustrephus latifolius)
  • Wonga Wonga Vine (Pandorea pandorana)
  • Snake Vine (Hibbertia scandens)
  • Native Passion Flower (Passiflora herbertiana)
  • Purple Twining Pea (Hardenbergia spp.)
  • Coral Peas (Kennedia spp.)

Council provides a tool, on its Mountain Landscapes website, to help you choose native alternative plantings. Choose your village, soil, vegetation community and the purpose of your planting, and the tool will give you suggestions.

There are native nurseries in several Blue Mountains villages, including Glenbrook, Lawson and Katoomba. Please also ask at your favourite local nursery.

Control

Skirt the tree: do not pull the vine from trees as it may damage native vegetation. The dead vine may be used as habitat for microbats and other small fauna.

Remove and dispose of seeds. Follow-up treatment will be required for new seedlings.

Refer to the Department of Primary Industry’s Noxious and Environmental Weed Control Handbook.

For more info

For key points on these techniques: