Cruel Plant, Moth Plant, Bladder Vine, Poor Man's Stephanotis

Araujia sericifera

Family: Asclepiadaceae (ass-kle-pee-ad-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Araujia (ar-RAW-jee-uh) (Info)
Species: sericifera (ser-ik-IF-er-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Araujia hortorum


Vines and Climbers

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

This plant is suitable for growing indoors


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Pale Pink

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall





Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Anniston, Alabama

Burbank, California

Camarillo, California

Corona, California

Livermore, California

Los Angeles, California

Norco, California

San Diego, California

Barbourville, Kentucky

Lake Charles, Louisiana

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Beulaville, North Carolina

Portland, Oregon

Johns Island, South Carolina

Austin, Texas

Plano, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 28, 2011, StonoRiver from Johns Island, SC wrote:

I've found this plant to be completely manageable in zone 8A, but in warmer climes I can see where it might be a problem. It stops flowering/growing here in November/December, so it never forms seed pods. Will die to the ground in bad winter years, but comes back reliably from the roots every time, and grows rapidly back to almost it's original size in a few months. Mine grows in light shade.


On Oct 19, 2010, johnthelandlord from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

It took me a while to figure what this was out, it started growing in a section of my apt buildings courtyard. At first it just had the flowers, now it has these large funky fruits on it. It seems to grow very fast and likes to spin around and choke the other plants around it.

It seems to be popping up all over this one area..lots of new shoots everywhere.

I am considering putting an end to it. Also, its EXTREMELY hard to break the vines buy trying to pull them off. This stuff is like nylon!


On Sep 8, 2010, Xeramtheum from Summerville, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

For me in zone 8a this is an aphid and ant magnet.


On Apr 11, 2010, nomosno from San Diego, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

I've had a horrible experience with this plant! I understand perfectly why it is called Cruel Plant. I picked up a seed pod from the Wild Animal Park in San Diego and planted the seeds. It sprouted easily and I planted the seedlings next to a trellis that I hoped this plant would grow onto. And grow it did, within a year it fully covered it and by the next year it started to produce seed pods. The pods, when ripe, open up and release hundreds of flying seeds into the air, with dozens of seed pods you begin to get inundated with seedlings everywhere. Trying to control the plant by cutting it back is hampered by the fact that it releases a copious amount of corrosive white sticky sap from every cut surface, which gets into your tools, and onto your body. Try to do this with the vines growing... read more


On Oct 27, 2009, fixpix from Weston-super-Mare,
United Kingdom wrote:

just here to say one of the pics is in fact another plant. i think it's the 5th from top.
a stephanotis.
i could be wrong, but doubt it.
haven't got this plant (araujia) but got seeds and will give it a try.


On Jun 7, 2007, seedpicker_TX from (Taylor) Plano, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This vine is evergreen for me in zone 8a. It may lose some leaves in January and February, but never is completely defoliated.
It resembles a milkweed vine, and will ooze white milky sap, if a stem is crushed, cut or broken.
Moths of all types are attracted to the white flowers which are more fragrant at night.
The flowers trap the moth by the tongue, and later release the moth, although they frequently fail to release the moth, causing its death...thus the name "cruel vine''.
Very pretty flowers and easy to grow, although considered a noxious weed in some states. I tend to this vine every morning during bloom season, to save little captors.
It begins blooming for me late May, and will continue until Fall.


On May 21, 2002, Baa wrote:

Vigorous, evergreen climber from South America

Has lance shaped, pale-mid green leaves with soft hairs beneath. Bears white or pale pink, bell shaped, scented flowers with a sticky pollen.

Flowers August-October

Likes a well drained, fertile soil in sun or partial shade. Grow indoors or at least bring them indoors when frost is expected.

Don't water too heavily in winter.

The flower scent attracts pollinators, especially moths. The pollen can trap the nectar seekers but will release the insect by the following morning, earning this plant it's common name.

Can become invasive in warmer regions of California and similar climes.

Incredibly easy from seed and fast growing.