HOLDINGFORD -- An invasive vine not seen in the United States since 1958 has been found in Stearns County.

A master naturalist with the University of Minnesota Extension Office found the vining milkweed called rough potato along the Lake Wobegon Trail in Holdingford. Sherry Kutter was out on the trail with her grandchildren when she spotted the invasive species.

Rough potato is native to eastern Asia. Officials say it is an aggressive climber and has the ability to completely cover other vegetation.

It hasn't been reported in North America since it was found in cornfields near Iowa State University where it may have been part of a research project six decades ago. It's a mystery how it got to Stearns County.

Several local and state agencies have been working to remove thousands of seedpods which each contains numerous seeds. The infestations will be treated with herbicide and manual pulling.

Rough potato milkweed seedpods. Photo courtesy of Stearns County
Rough potato infestation along Lake Wobegon Trail - Photo courtesy of Stearns County
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