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   Cardiospermum grandiflorum (vine, climber)     
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      Cardiospermum grandiflorum (Photo:  Albert C. Perdeck, Arnhem, The Netherlands) - Click for full size   Cardiospermum grandiflorum (Photo:  Albert C. Perdeck, Arnhem, The Netherlands) - Click for full size   Cardiospermum grandiflorum leaves and fruit (Photo:  Albert C. Perdeck, Arnhem, The Netherlands) - Click for full size
    Taxonomic name: Cardiospermum grandiflorum Sw.
    Synonyms: Cardiospermum barbicule , Cardiospermum hirsutum
    Common names: balloon vine (English), blaasklimop (Afrikaans), heart seed (English), intandela (Zulu), kopupu takaviri (Cook Islands)
    Organism type: vine, climber
    Balloon vine (Cardiospermum grandiflorum) is an invasive tendril climber growing in damp situations, often near river banks. It forms dense but localised infestations and competes with, and smothers, indigenous plant species.
    Balloon vine (Cardiospermum grandiflorum) is a vigorous, vine-like climber with a spread of 6m or more; hairy leaves and stems; white or yellow flowers grouped together in clusters - pleasant smelling with two tendrils at the base of each cluster; fruits form a large round capsule; seeds are round, changing from green to black when ripe, with an oblong white spot (hilum). Reproduces only by seed WESSA (2006).
    Please follow this link to view images of balloon vine, its habit, flowers and seeds.
    Similar Species
    Cardiospermum halicacabum, Cayratia clematidea, Clematis aristata, Clematis glycinoides

    Occurs in:
    natural forests, riparian zones, urban areas
    Habitat description
    Balloon vine (Cardiospermum grandiflorum) prefers moist soils and will tolerate occasional flooding. C. grandiflorum tolerates some shade but is most vigorous in full sun (PIER, 2007).
    General impacts
    Balloon vine (Cardiospermum grandiflorum) is an invasive climber growing in damp situations; often near river banks. It forms dense but localised infestations and can grow to enormous lengths and is capable of smothering a tree 10m tall. It competes with, and smothers, indigenous plant species by preventing their ability to effectively undergo photosynthesis. C. grandiflorum invades forest margins, watercourses and urban open spaces in subtropical regions (Wessa, 2006)
    Various parts of balloon vine (Cardiospermum grandiflorum) can be extracted to provide medicinal applications. For example, the derivatives of the root of the plant has been shown to offer laxative, emetic and diuretic effects. Additionally, the leaves of the plant can be made into medicine which can effectively alleviate swelling, oedema and pulmonary complications (Aluka, 2008).
    Geographical range
    Native Range: North America, South America and Africa.
    Known introduced range: Cook Islands, Rarotonga, Hawaii, Australia. (GRIN, 2008)
    Introduction pathways to new locations
    For ornamental purposes: Balloon vine (Cardiospermum grandiflorum) was probably introduced to Australia as an ornamental garden creeper (BRAIN, 1997).
    Natural dispersal: The light papery capsules of balloon vine (Cardiospermum grandiflorum) are easily transported by wind (ESC, 2008).

    Local dispersal methods
    Water currents: Balloon vine (Cardiospermum grandiflorum) seeds float in water (ESC, 2008).
    Management information
    Chemical: Chemical management (herbicides) of balloon vine (Cardiospermum grandiflorum) is difficult due to their close proximity to water sources. Furthermore, native species may be affected by the treatment. However, limited success is met with the use of glyphosate (Brain, 1997).

    Physical: Hand-pulling or digging out of young plants and spraying larger plants. Plants can be cut at the base, leaving top growth to die off in and then the root dug out. Cutting and painting or scraping and painting very large plants (Brain, 1997).

    Balloon vine (Cardiospermum grandiflorum) thrives in well-drained soil types, thus making riparian habitats the ideal location. It has also been noted that optimal growth takes place in well-lit (sunny) locations, although it is capable of germinating in dark conditions. (ARC, 2008)
    Seed - the light papery capsules float in water and can also be transported by wind (ESC, 2008).
    Lifecycle stages
    Germination of the seed on introduced habitats can occur at any time during the year. Seed longevity is estimated to be around 2 years (Vivian-Smith et al., 2002). However, the exact plant and seed longevity is yet to be confirmed. Further research is currently being undertaken in order to determine various aspects of the plant ecology.
    Compiled by: IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) with support from ASB Community Trust, New Zealand
    Last Modified: Thursday, 17 April 2008

ISSG Landcare Research NBII IUCN University of Auckland