Bougainvillia smothered in a riot of brilliant blooms is a staple in Mediterranean gardens. The invasive thorny, woody vines are actually native to South America though and nothing really bothers them, except the cold.
In the middle east, they call it Majnoon (crazy) because it grows like wild. If you look away, it will sneak up on you (kind of like the wisteria in my backyard - not as bad as kudzu) and yet, when you see it, you smile and exclaim "How lovely!" (That was me, BEFORE I began the wisteria wars!)
Interesting segue: Majnoon, literally translated, means "with a djinn" As in, crazy people are possessed by genies. (Wonder if I can I call an exorcist for that wisteria...)