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Muehlenbeckia axillaris - (Hook.f.)Walp.

Common Name Sprawling wirevine
Family Polygonaceae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Gravelly and rocky places and open grassland southwards from 38° south in North and South Islands of New Zealand[44]. Scrub and river flats to the sub-alpine zone[173].
Range Australia to New Zealand.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Muehlenbeckia axillaris Sprawling wirevine
Muehlenbeckia axillaris Sprawling wirevine


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of climber
Muehlenbeckia axillaris is a deciduous Climber growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8. It is in flower in July. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). . The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


M. hypogaea. M. nana. Polygonum axillare.


Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Ground Cover;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked. Sweet and juicy[173]. The fruit is very small, only 3mm in diameter[200].


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


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Other Uses

A fast growing ground cover plant for a sunny position but it requires weeding for the first year or so[197, 208]. Once established, it can swamp out small plants[197].

Special Uses

Ground cover


Cultivation details

Requires a well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade[200]. Plants are not hardy outside the milder areas of Britain, but given a position sheltered from cold drying winds they tolerate temperatures down to about -15°c[200]. A climbing plant that supports itself by twining around other plants etc[219]. Plants can become invasive, spreading by means of underground shoots[208]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.


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Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8 cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Pot up in autumn and overwinter in a cold frame. High percentage[78]. Plant out in late spring. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, 5 - 10cm with a heel, October/November in a cold frame. High percentage[78]. Division in spring[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Muehlenbeckia adpressa Climber2.5 8-11  LMHSNM20 
Muehlenbeckia astonii Shrub1.8 -  LMHSNM20 
Muehlenbeckia australis Climber10.0 7-10  LMHSNM20 
Muehlenbeckia chilensis Climber0.0 -  LMHSNM20 
Muehlenbeckia complexaMaidenhair VineClimber5.0 7-10  LMHSNM30 

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

Gardeners_Hands   Thu Sep 30 03:00:10 2004

9-29-04, picked up a pot of it at local store (Washington state). Labeled Muehlenbeckia axillaris 'Creeping Wire Vine' , sun to part shade, 4-6" height, space 18-24", plant in rich, well-drained potting soil, twining growth with dark stems and light green leaves, hardiness Zone 8 (10 degrees F). It has a second label that spells it as 'Wirevine'.

I would disagree with the 'dark stems and light green leaves, they had rows of them and all had dark reddish brown stems and dark green leaves. The crisp, slightly glossy, little leaves are a bit like the sedum 'Dragon's Blood', being almost oval, small as a little fingernail (abt 3/8 - 5/8" sideways and 1/2 - 7/8" from stem to tip. Dainty appearance, tendancy to trail might be nice in hanging baskets and window boxes. Stems are branching at every other, or every third, leaf. I just went to look at the info on the site listed on the label before I posted it for 'public consumption'. It is overly dramatic and overblown, but I guess that is typical Nursery Eagerness. It is not 'Different, odd, down right strange. This New Zealand gem has dark, wiry stems that contort, curl, and bend like nothing you've seen. Small, attractive emerald-green leaflets. A choice and very hardy addition to combos." I stopped to look at it in the first place because it had a vague familiarity about it, it looked slightly like a very miniature periwinkle (vinca minor). No blooms yet, though. And if my plant is going to "contort, curl, and bend like nothing" like nothing I'VE ever seen it had best get with it, the stems are already 14" long in a 4" pot and only slight wandering and curling. The photo they show on this site is very accurate, the first photo shows leaves at approx real size, the enlarged photo is abt 4x real size.

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