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Araujia sericifera - Brot.

Common Name Cruel Plant, White bladderflower
Family Asclepiadaceae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Sandy seashores in S.W. Europe[50, 74]. As a garden escape in hedges, trees, stony banks, cliffs, unkempt areas and waste places.
Range S. America - Brazil and Peru. Naturalized in S.W. Europe
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (1 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Araujia sericifera Cruel Plant, White bladderflower

Araujia sericifera Cruel Plant, White bladderflower


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Araujia sericifera or white bladderflower is a perennial climbing ornamental plant often found on sandy sea shores. It has minor edible uses and has been used a a fibre for making textiles. Common names include: Moth Plant, White Bladderflower, Common Moth Vine, Cruel Vine and False Choko.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of climber
Araujia sericifera is an evergreen Climber growing to 10 m (32ft 10in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower in September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies).
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map



 Cultivated Beds; South Wall. By. West Wall. By.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses:

Fruit - after preparation[177]. No further details are given but the fruit is a long grooved pod 12.5 x 7.5cm, tapering to a fascicle of hairs 2.5cm long[200].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses


A strong fibre obtained from stems is used in making textiles[46, 61]. As an ornamental. The plant can be used as an alternative food source for caterpillars of the Monarch butterfly.

Special Uses

Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a good loamy soil but succeeds in any fertile soil[11, 182]. Requires a sunny position[182]. Plants are not very hardy outdoors in Britain, they succeed outdoors only in the mildest areas of the country[1, 11]. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun[K]. Plants produce fruit when growing on a wall at Glendurgan gardens in Cornwall[59]. A very vigorous twining plant when growing in a suitable position[182, 219]. The flowers have a very strong scent that can be offensive if approached too closely[219]. This scent attracts night-flying moths who are seeking nectar, but the flowers are designed in such a way as to trap the moths by their tongues until morning when those who have survived the ordeal can escape[200, 219].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. The seed can be sown at any time of the year if the greenhouse is heated[134]. Germinates in 3 - 6 weeks at 20°c according to one report whilst another says that it takes 1 - 6 months at 25°c[134]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth, late autumn in a frame[1].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Moth Plant, White Bladderflower, Common Moth Vine, Cruel Vine and False Choko.

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

This plant can be weedy or invasive. Noted as a noxious weed in California (bladderflower) B list (noxious weeds). Listed in the National Pest Plant Accord in New Zealand to prevent the sale, distribution, or propagation, within New Zealand, of specified pest plants.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

jake cassar   Tue Apr 28 2009

Gday My names Jake cassar and I am a native plant consultant from the Central coast between Sydney and Newcastle. I have been eating the Araujia for around 10 years without any adverse effects. The closelly related native 'bush banana'or Doubah also from the Asclepiadaceae genus is a well documented traditional Aboriginal food. I would love some further info on the South American uses for the plant as I beleive it to possibly have some of the same virtues as the native such as high levels of vitamin B. I recently learnt that Aboriginal women would ground the mature, brown seeds to use as a contraceptive. Given that this may true the consumption of the mature fruit is not recomended. best regards... Jake....

   Jul 8 2017 12:00AM

Do not plant this plant in warm weather areas! There is a reason it is called cruel vine. In warm weather areas (such as Los Angeles) it becomes an unstoppable noxious weed and will cover any plant or tree in vines rapidly. It arrived in my garden about 8 years ago, and I am constantly cutting it back. Probably okay if constantly monitored in cold weather areas, but it grows rapidly and can choke a bush or small tree quickly.

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