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SMALL BALLOON VINE, BALLOON VINE

(Cardiospermum halicacabum var. halicacabum, fam. Sapindaceae)

Cardiospermum halicacabum var. halicacabum Cardiospermum halicacabum var. halicacabum Cardiospermum halicacabum var. halicacabum Cardiospermum halicacabum var. halicacabum Cardiospermum halicacabum var. halicacabum
Slender annual herbaceous tendril climber with sparsely hairy stems and stalks.
Form or habit: Climbing or twining plant
Latex:Absent
Leaf:Compound Alternate

Alternate, compound, 50-70mm long with 9 coarsely toothed leaflets, 10-58 x 5-30mm, arranged in 3 groups of 3; central leaflet of each group larger than lower pair.

Flower conspicuous: Conspicuous
Flower colour: White or cream with yellow margins
Flower description:White or cream with yellow margins, 4-petalled, 1-4mm long and borne on long-stemmed axillary sprays or umbels with 1 or 2 pairs of tendrils below the flowers.
Fruit conspicuous: Conspicuous
Fruit colour: Straw coloured
Fruit: Dry
Fruit description: Inflated hairy 3-valved, 6-ribbed capsules, 10-40 x 11-40mm, straw coloured at maturity, containing several black seeds, 3.5-5mm in diameter, with a 2-lobed white aril at base.
Habitat:
Distribution:
Food source for:
Toxicity:No toxicity known
Origin:Tropical Asia, Africa and America
Weed:Yes
Weed status:Environmental/garden escapee
Notes:Spread by: Probably by birds and water.
Invades: Rainforest, creeks, swamps, floodplains and roadsides; may be a problem in sugar cane.
Notes: Introduced as a garden ornamental. More common in the Whitsundays but also recorded in the Pioneer valley.
Balloon Vine (C. grandiflorum), a Class 3 declared plant in Queensland, is a very similar species but is far more hairy and leaves, flowers, fruit and seeds are all larger. This species was recorded from Conway in the early 1990’s but there have been no sightings
recorded since.
Information sources: Mackay Regional Pest Management Group (2011) Weeds of the Mackay Whitsunday Region.

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