Old Man's Beard


General description

Deciduous climber. Stems are woody, < 20 m long, attached to host by leaf tendrils and hang like a curtain. Leaves are pinnate and sparsely hairy. Flowers are creamy white, < 3 cm in diameter and borne in December – May. Seeds are < 3 mm long, bear distinctive white fluffy plumes and ripen in winter.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell old man’s beard. As old man’s beard is a National Pest Plant Accord species, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand.
  • You must not plant old man’s beard within the Auckland region.
Auckland Council will manage old man's beard at all sites where it is known to occur.

If you see old man’s beard anywhere in the Auckland region, please report it to Auckland Council at pestfree@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.

Forests, forest and riparian margins, canopy gaps.

Seeds dispersed by wind, water and birds. Vegetative spread from stem fragments and layering. Human-mediated dispersal through dumping of garden waste.

Smothers canopy, often resulting in canopy collapse.

Site Management

Recommended approaches

Do not attempt to undertake control of this species. Please report to Auckland Council.

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

moth plant
Araujia hortorum

Moth plant has opposite leaves with wavy leaf margins. Milky sap is exuded when plant is broken. Produces large 'choko' like seed pods. The vine is evergreen.

Clematis flammula
Clematis flammula

Clematis flammula has bi-pinnate leaves (compound, twice divided) rather than the pinnate leaves of old man's beard.

Clematis paniculata

Native Clematis spp are evergreen, have 3 leaflets, much larger flowers, flower in spring not summer, have smooth or slightly rough bark that is not ribbed.

Search tags

RPMP status

National Pest Plant Accord Species
Whole region (Progressive Containment, council delivered)
Old man's beard - Main species image