This ‘love’ can be suffocating, but it’s edible and incredible

G3 Group explores the many uses of chain of love, one of the most pervasive invasive plant species on Guam

By Jasmine Stole Weiss

Guam Green Growth members have found ways to turn one of the island’s most pervasive invasive species from a nuisance into a new commodity, using all parts of the chain of love vine in cooking, skincare products and apparel.

They’ve made a string of things from the chain of love vines including tea, pesto, furikake seasoning, bath bombs, and used its root for clothing dye.

The experiments with the invasive vine came after a few successful, albeit back-breaking, days of harvesting the plant, which is also known as “kadena de amor.” In mid-September, Guam Green Growth members, the G3 Conservation Corps and the Guam Department of Agriculture tackled a part of a plot in Yona.

“When we drove away, we felt successful, but when we got in the car, we realized it’s everywhere,” said Myracle Mugol, circular economy coordinator for Guam Green Growth.

The area that the team cleared was once home to a coconut tree plantation reportedly snuffed out by the chain of love, Mugol said. They realized the work of about 20 people wasn’t going to be enough for a plant that’s had a 100-year head start to take root and take over.

Chain of love, defined by its heart-shaped leaves and pink flower clusters, moves fast and spreads quickly, smothering whatever tree or brush it climbs. Its blossoms are dainty and its vines are ruthless, swarming its host tree so that it blocks the much-needed sun from its host. As it moves on to overwhelm other nearby native flora, the unfortunate host gets weaker and weaker. As far as plants go, chain of love is definitely a looker but it is also quite the killer.

Its extensive vine network originates from a tenacious tuber that if left unearthed will produce more climbing soldiers, ready and eager to keep the chain going.

“You have to kill it f