Officials have confirmed that an invasive Asian weed has reached south-central Iowa.
Persicaria perfoliata, or mile-a-minute weed, was known to be in the mid-Atlantic states, Indiana and in Oregon. Experts say the plant can grow 6 inches (15 centimeters) a day and quickly smother native vegetation.
Iowa State Extension says the weed is suspected to have become permanently established following introduction to a Pennsylvania plant nursery in the 1930s or 1940s.
Iowa State Extension says a Marion County resident who’d been battling the weed contacted the Marion County Extension Office, and the plant subsequently was confirmed as the mile-a-minute weed. It’s unknown how far the weed has spread in Iowa, if at all.
It can grow up to 20 feet long and has light green, triangular leaves and downward-curving spines on the stem and other plant parts.
The extension service says the weed isn’t considered a threat to agricultural fields.