Q: I am finding this vine growing all over my property this year. What is it?
A: I looked through several of my Florida wildflower books and was unable to locate it. I sent my photos of the plant to the University of Florida specialist located at the Herbarium and he identified it as Pampas Lily of the Valley vine, Salpichroa origanifolia. This plant is a flowering herbaceous plant native to South America. In many areas it is an annual and other areas of the U.S. it is a perennial. New growth develops in late winter and spring. Pampas lily-of-the-valley can have numerous stems arising from a perennial rootstock. They are erect at first then become prostrate and trailing to a length of 3 m long. Stems are often densely hairy and zig-zagged. Flowers of pampas lily-of-the-valley are white or cream colored. They are about 6-8 mm long, bell-shaped, nodding with stalks about the same length as the flower formed singly or in pairs at the leaf axils. Pampas lily-of-the-valley fruit is a small, smooth yellow berry when ripe. This plant produces 100 berries per plant with 20 seeds in each berry resulting in at least 2,000 seeds per plant – yikes. Pampas lily-of-the-valley prefers temperate regions mainly on alkaline sandy soils in warm and often semi-arid situations. It is a weed of urban areas where it grows on home sites and neglected areas, trailing over fences and low bushes.