Mikania scandens (L.) Willd., Sp. Pl., ed. 4 [Willdenow] 3(3): 1743 (1803)

(Latin for 'climbing', referring to the growth habit of the plant)

Eupatorium scandens L.
Mikania angulosa Raf.
Mikania batatifolia DC
Mikania dioscoreaefolia DC.
Mikania floribunda Bojer ex DC.
Mikania scandens var. pubescens (Nutt.) Torr. & A. Gray
Willoughbya heterophylla Small
Willoughbya scandens (L.) Kuntze
Willoughbya scandens var. normalis Kuntze

Climbing herbaceous vine up to 3 m tall with opposite, simple leaves that have distinct petioles. The leaves are triangular to triangular-ovate in shape (3 to 15 cm long, 2 to 11 cm wide) with an attenuate apex and a cordate to hastate leaf base. The inflorescence is a loose corymb and the flowers are borne in clusters of 4. The corolla is pinkish to purplish or sometimes white.

Growing in swampy woods, ditches, fence rows, pond margins, swamps. Sometimes forms dense mats that hinder regeneration of other vegetation. Seeds are primarily wind-dispersed but can be moved unintentionally by people or animals. Whether wind-dispersed or by animals, the pappus bristles are the main mechanism. They can act as a parachute or sail or can catch onto an animal via the same feature or can be modified into a barb or awn. Vegetative reproduction is more important than sexual reproduction in this species as broken stems can re-root and form new plants. The nodes root when in contact with the soil.

North and South America, from temperate to tropical regions. Invasive in many parts of the world, including Asia.

Used by the Seminoles to treat itchy skin. Also used for circumcision, wounds, and tumors. Planted as an ornamental, cover crop, and for cattle feed.

Local names
English: Climbing Boneset, Climbing hempvine.
Portuguese: Guaco.