South Africa, Zone 9-10
Soft wooded

Bark Type

Soft wooded

No secondary (woody) tissue being formed. The texture is fleshy and is soft, easy to cut.

Growth Habit


A plant that climbs using tendrils or twines around a structure.
2 - 4 m (7 - 13 ft )
1 m (3 ft)

Plant Overview

This vigorous climbing perennial has a twinning purplish succulent stems and forms a dense cover. It has fleshy light green lobed leaves and the dense  yellow flower heads appear during winter.


Delairea odorata Lem. is naturally found from the East Cape to Port Elizabeth in South Africa growing in moist positions along forest margins or hillside grasslands shrubland and on disturbed soil from sea level to an altitude of 2500 m (8,202 ft) in Hawaii. It has also naturalised in many countries including Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and the USA where it is regarded as an environmental weed. It prefers well drained to boggy fertile moist organic rich sandy to loamy soil with a pH range from 6.0 to 7.5 but is adaptable. It grows in an open sunny to semi-shaded position and is frost tender but drought and salt laden wind tolerant.


Cape Ivy is grown for its foliage and its vigorous spreading or climbing habit. It was originally cultivated as an ornamental growing over trellises for screening or used as a ground cover on embankments. It is now discouraged from use as it is invasive and is regarded as a weed. It is suitable for coastal and low mountain regions toleranting a wide range of habitats from rainforest to Mediterranean climates. It establishes in one season and forms a dense cover over shrubs and trees. It has a high water requirement once established. (Scale: 3-drops from 3) but is tolerant of dry conditions.

I.D. 871

UK hardiness zone H1b

Climate zones H1, 14 - 24

USDA Zone 9-10


Delairea (del-AER-ee-a) odorata (õ-do-RAY-ta)



Genus: - Delairea – meaning unknown

Species:  Latin - odorata – meaning (fragrant, perfumed) referring to the flowers


Weed Potential

As a weed Cape Ivy is wide spread in high rainfall areas of Australia and is highly invasive growing in a variety of native habitats including woodlands, forests or dunes and along water courses. It also occurs in disturbed soils and neglected landscapes.

Growth occurs during the warmer months and the plant smothers the ground and climbs into the lower canopy cutting out the light for the host. The vine matures in 2-years preferring an open sunny position with moist soils. It can produce over 30,000 seeds yearly and the stem fragments can also form new plants. It tolerates salt laden winds or drier conditions once established commonly appear in bushland margins. The seed is dispersed by water or wind and in garden waste.


Control methods include physically digging out small infestations including the roots or the vine may be severed at the base and the foliage left in the canopy to dry out if no seeds are seen. Fruiting stems should be cut and bagged where possible then all plant material should be removed off site and destroyed.

Plants may also be sprayed with a non-selective herbicide taking care not to spray the native vegetation. Follow up applications are required as seeds mature on sprayed plants. Best to apply chemical sprays before flowers appear as the seeds form with in 4 to 8 weeks.


Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee)        


Sunflower Family

This family is recognised by several features the florets are clustered in the flower head, inferior ovary has one basal ovule and the stamens are connate around the style.



This family is found throughout the world except Antarctica. In Australia they are found in arid and semi-arid regions covering large areas.


Diagnostic Features

There are numerous growth forms from small annual herbs, ephemeral, biennial or perennial rosette plants, shrubs but rarely creepers.


The leaves do not have stipules and may be arranged opposite or alternate with margins that are entire to deeply lobed. The texture may be leathery or succulent and may be reduced to spins or needles.


The simple flower is in a tight inflorescence with many florets that sit on a fleshy receptacle that is surrounded by many involucral bracts. In some genera the bracts are reduced or not present and the receptacle may be in an elongated form giving it a club-shape inflorescence.


Each flower has an inferior ovary normally with a colourful corolla on top with the calyx reduced to scales, bristle or hairs around the corolla.

Three distinctive Floret Types


1. Disk florets are funnel form corolla tube that has five equal lobes with fertile stamens and ovary.


2. The ligulate florets with a corolla that is split down one side and the limb formed is extended to form showy ray florets. These flowers are unisexual.


3. The filiform florets come from disk florets when the corolla tube is a slim cylindrical shape and these are normally unisexual.


The fruit produced from the different types is normally a cypsela (type of achene) although some florets don't produce fruit.


The corolla has five petals, which are five lobes in disk florets but are not easily seen in other types.


The stamens are arranged alternate with the petals and the filaments are normally fused to the corolla tube with the anthers arranged around the style in a connate form.

When the pollen falls onto the closed stigma the style elongates above the stamens and then the stigma opens to be pollinated.


The ovary is inferior with one chamber and one ovule and forms a one seeded fruit, which is really an indehiscent fruit (cypsela). These are normally distributed by animals with barbs formed by the pappus and some by wind.



This is one of the largest families but with low economic importance. They are used in the horticulture industry largely for cut flowers and in the case of sunflowers for seed oil. Many species are grown in domestic gardens and many have become weeds that are wide spread throughout the world.


This plant tolerates between USDA zones 9a to 10a and grows to 4 m (12 ft)

Fahrenheit         20º to 30º F

These temperatures represent the lowest average.

Celsius             -6.6º to -1.1º C



All photographs and data are covered by copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, reference or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any means with out written permission. All inquiries should be addressed to attention Peter Kirkland.




The leaf that is not divided.

Leaf Shape


A leaf that is broad and lobed at the base tapering towards the apex.

Leaf Arrangement


Leaves are arranged alternately along the stem.

Leaf Margin


This is a pinnately lobed leaf margin or shape with divisions that are less than half way to the mid-rib.
Light green
40 - 100 mm ( 1.6 - 3.9 in )

Additional Information

The light green glabrous fleshy cordate leaves up to 100 mm (4 in) long by 80 mm (3 1/8 in) wide have variable margins that have 5 to 7 or more triangular shape lobes and a hastate base. The texture is thin-fleshy and the petiole is up to 70 mm (2 2/3 in) long and has kidney-shaped stipules at the base.



Botanic Flower Description


A flower that forms a tube shape.

Flower Inflorescence


Sessile florets on a flattened and expanded apex (a daisy-like flower). Ray florets can be absent.
2 - 7 mm ( 0.1 - 0.3 in )

Flowering Season

(Southern Hemisphere)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Additional Information

The 8 to 12 yellow flowers have no ray florets and 10 - 12 tubular disk florets that are accompanied by small green bracts. the flower heads are up to 7 mm (¼ in) wide and 15 - 50 are arranged in a loose terminal corymbose panicle on a short peduncle and appear during winter to spring.


Note; The compressed inflorescence is called the capitulum or flower head and is composed at the base with a receptacle (involucre) that has one to several rows of bracts that may be spiny. The bisexual or unisexual flowers are attached to the receptacle. The ray florets have a corolla tube that is slit along one side with a Ligule (single petal) normally extend out around the rim giving the flower head a daisy-like appearance. (May be absent in some genus) There are many tubular disk florets in the centre of the flower head and they have 3-5 equal lobes.



Fruit Type


An achene with a thin leathery pericarp and a parachute-like pappus."
2 - 3 mm ( 0.1 - 0.1 in )

Fruiting Season

(Southern Hemisphere)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Additional Information

This one seeded reddish-brown achene has a pappus of silky hairs that are up to 6 mm (¼ in) long and are normally dispersed by wind, gravity, water and from rubbish dumping.


Well to poorly drained fertile moist sandy to clay loam, pH 6.0-7.5
Pots, tubs, planter boxes, roof gardens
Full sun to semi shade open position, frost tender, drought tolerant
Warm temperate
Not attacked, seeds germinate and roots shoots after disturbance

Cultural Uses

Cape Ivy is grown for its foliage and its vigorous spreading or climbing habit. It was originally cultivated as an ornamental over trellises screening or used as a ground cover on embankments. It is now discouraged from use as it is invasive and is regarded as a weed. It is suitable for coastal regions and low mountain regions and is tolerant of a wide range of habitats from rainforest to Mediterranean climates. It establishes in one season and forms a dense cover over shrubs and trees. It has a high water requirement once established. (Scale: 3-drops from 3) but is tolerant of dry conditions.



All parts of the stems must be removed off site or the plant can be poisoned with glyphosate.


The spraying of chemicals in waterways has to be carried out with minimal contamination of the water. Where possible apply the chemicals by rubbing it on with a mop or brush.


Tolerates a hard prune, as a weed remove plant and roots from the ground and dispose off site
Potted plants require complete fertiliser during spring, keep moist


This plant is not normally cultivated for ornamental purposes in Australia. Sow seed during spring to summer.


Propagation by Seed (General)


In order for a seed to germinate it must fulfil three conditions.


1. The embryo must be alive (a viable seed).


2. The seed must have no dormancy-inducing physiological, physical or chemical barrier to germination; also the seed must be nondormant.


3. The seed must have the appropriate environmental requirements, water, temperature and oxygen.

The interaction between these requirements and dormancy is complex and may lead to different environmental requirements that avoid the dormancy of a seed.


Sowing Seeds in Containers

There are two general methods for germinating seeds.

Seeds in a flat or germinating bed, through which seedlings are pricked-out then, transplanted into another flat with wider spacing or directly to an individual pot.


2. Sowing seeds by placing them in to flats with the appropriate spacing or into individual pots.

This method is normally carried out with medium to large seeds such as woody plants and plants that are difficult to transplant.  

Seedling production normally occurs in a greenhouse / glasshouse, cold frames and on hot beds.


Method of Seed Sowing

Fine seed is sown in pots or flats that are no deeper than 70 to 80 mm. using a sterilised well-drained media (soil). Fill the container to 20 mm from the top and sprinkle sieved peat to 3 mm depth.

Press the media down level and firm with a piece of timber and then thoroughly moisten.


Mix the fine seed with washed sand and then sow thinly on the surface. These may be lightly covered with sand.

Larger seeds may be covered with media or a hole is dibbled and the seed is placed in the media.


Watering Methods

For watering you may either mist the containers from above or place the container in tepid water and allow the water to raise through the pot to the surface of the media, then drain away and do not fill to the top of the container.


Place a piece of glass over the pot and store in a protected warm environment (glasshouse).

Seeds germinate best in darkness so shade the containers if in direct sunlight.


After the seedlings have sprouted remove the glass and ease the seedlings into direct light.

When the seedlings are large enough prick them out and transplant into larger containers then place them in a shade house to harden off.

Many seeds have different methods of seed preparation for germination such as nicking or cutting the seed coat to allow water penetration, also placing seeds in hot water and allowing it to cool off.

This is particularly important as it is softening the seed coat.


No Record Found . . .


No Record Found . . .
Leaf to 100 mm (4 in) long

Plant Photo Gallery - Click thumbnails to enlarge

Climate zone

This Plant tolerates zones 9-10

Average Lowest Temperature : -3º C 27º F

USDA : 9, 10

This USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) hardiness zone chart can be used to indicate a plant’s ability to withstand average minimum temperatures. However, other factors such as soil type, pH, and moisture, drainage, humidity and exposure to sun and wind will also have a direct effect on your plant’s survival. Use this chart only as a guide, always keep the other factors in mind when deciding where, when and what to plant.

A plant's individual USDA zone can be found in the Plant Overview.

Climate Description

Warm Temperate
This zone has the majority of rain during winter in the west and summer in the east with high humidity. Summer temperatures may peak at 40ºC (104ºF).
Frost and drought mainly occur inland and coastal wind is normally accompanied with rain.

Plant growth

Wide range of native and exotic plants grow well.


Dictionary Growth Habit
Leaf Type Botanic Flower Description
Leaf Shape Flower Inflorescence
Leaf Arrangement Fruit Type
Leaf Margin Bark Type
Leaf Apex And Bases Flower Description